Turtle Bread wins rights to develop Franklin and Nicollet

A key city development committee has given Turtle Bread Co. exclusive development rights to the vacant lot on the southwest corner of Franklin and Nicollet avenues.

The action gives Turtle Bread owner Harvey McLain six months to work out a redevelopment plan with the Minneapolis Community Development Agency.

The MCDA’s Operations Committee approved negotiations with McLain March 25, although some members expressed concern that the project might need too much city subsidy.

McLain’s proposal includes a six-story, 80,000-square-foot mixed-use building with two levels of underground parking, according to a Feb. 21 MCDA staff report. It would have space for three live theaters, bakery production, a restaurant, retail space and affordable housing.

The MCDA received a second development plan for the intersection. Mike Moore, owner of Franklin Nicollet Liquors, 2012 Nicollet Ave., proposed a $1.4-million addition. Under his plan, he would change the current liquor store into a convenience/retail operation and build a new 8,000-square-foot liquor store on the corner.

The Whittier Alliance and Stevens Square Community Organization, groups that represent the affected neighborhoods, both favored the Turtle Bread proposal.

The MCDA staff report said the Turtle Bread project would cost $10 million. McLain would need $2 million in pay-as-you-go tax increment financing "and perhaps other public funding," it said.

The project would create 50 full-time jobs and 50 part-time jobs, the report said. The liquor store project would have created 10 full-time and 10 part-time jobs.

The MCDA acquired the Franklin and Nicollet site in 2001 as part of the Franklin Nicollet Redevelopment Project. It was formerly Franklin Nicollet Service.