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Cottage Grove, Home Depot feud after deal for vacant property sours

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The mayor of Cottage Grove, Minnesota has vowed to stop shopping at Home Depot, the latest shot in an ongoing real estate turf war between the city and the Atlanta-based retailer.

The matter is over the town's vacant Home Depot, which has been gathering dust in the Gateway North shopping center since it closed about seven years ago.

The city wants to buy the property from the company and nearly finalized a deal to do so last week, but according to the South Washington County Bulletin, Home Depot added a stipulation to the agreement forbidding Cottage Grove to sell the site to potential competitors – for 15 years.

City leaders are now saying that the retailer negotiated in "poor faith," the publication reports.

Meanwhile, Mayor Myron Bailey is stepping into the fight, and his frustration is clear.

"I am not going to shop at Home Depot," he told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday. "I am encouraging our citizens to not shop at Home Depot" – though he added he is not asking for a boycott.

For its part, the company told the paper that such demands are commonplace in property deals, but Mayor Bailey says it's the retailer's way of "improving market share" while commercial development in Cottage Grove grinds to a halt.

The nearest Home Depot is in Inver Grove Heights, the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal reports – about 9 miles away.

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