Bryn Mawr CenturyLink site may hold office space, senior, affordable housing

A view of the former CenturyLink campus.
A view of the former CenturyLink campus.

Two developers are teaming up to redevelop the former CenturyLink office site at 2800 N. Wayzata Blvd. They envision new office tenants in the existing CenturyLink building, perhaps flanked by 100 units of market-rate senior housing on the east side and 150 units of affordable family housing on the west side. Developer Ned Abdul of Swervo Development (behind the downtown Armory renovation) would handle the office development. Steve Minn of Lupe Development (behind the Eat Street Flats) would handle the residential development.

Although Lupe has suggested heights of three-five stories, Minn said he wants neighborhood input.

The neighborhood association is co-hosting a design charrette on Tuesday, May 22, where several design concepts will be presented.

“I’m really focused on not making any presumptions about what will be there so the neighborhood has a chance to weigh in and look at the options and give us some feedback,” Minn said. “…I really want neighborhood buy-in on this.”

The site is located south of Anwatin Middle School.

“We’re totally sensitive to and want to be attentive to issues the neighborhood has,” Minn said. “Traffic is going to be a concern. Cedar Lake Road is the primary way to get there. There are going to be neighbors who are concerned about that.”

The project would likely incorporate 300-400 parking spaces to ensure the office space is successful, Minn said. He noted the nearby bus route, and said a proposed Southwest Light Rail Transit station would not be too far away.

A Swervo representative told the Bryn Mawr neighborhood the office building may be updated to include outdoor patios and a rooftop deck, according to meeting minutes. They are looking for a large anchor tenant.

“It’s an ideal spot for a large corporate user that wants the proximity to downtown without the parking hassles and expense,” Swervo representative Nancy Aleksuk said in an email.

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The affordable housing would likely serve people making about half of the area median income, Minn said.

The senior housing may operate as an equity cooperative. Such cooperatives typically have an entry fee and a refundable equity component that still allow for an easy exit, Minn said. One of the nation’s first senior co-ops in 1977 was the 7500 York Cooperative in Edina, according to the Star Tribune. The co-op shares currently start at $40,000 and appreciate annually. Estimated wait times for 337 units range from three months to 12 years, depending on the unit.

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2800 Partners LLC purchased the 8-acre site from CenturyLink in October for $4.75 million.

The May 22 design charrette is 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Bryn Mawr Elementary cafeteria, located at 252 Upton Ave. S.

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