Housing/commercial project proposed for Whittier Superfund site

A project called "Corson’s Corner," with 15 housing units and 4,500 square feet of commercial space, is being proposed for the Superfund site on the southwest corner of West 26th Street and Stevens Avenue.

The Despatch Laundry Task Force, made up of city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County and neighborhood representatives, recommended giving development rights to Ed Bell and Alan Chazin.

The Whittier Alliance has also voted to support the project.

The site is tax-forfeit land owned by the county. The Whittier Alliance, city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County will review the task force’s recommendation.

Now surface parking, the lot was formerly the site of Despatch Laundry/Whiteway Cleaners. Toxic dry- cleaning solvents, called tetrachloroethylene, leached into the ground for decades, making redevelopment problematic.

Katie Hatt, a Whittier Alliance staff member, said the project would cost roughly $4 million and would be 100 percent privately financed, not counting cleanup.

Still unclear is how much cleanup the state will require and when the site will get "delisted" from the Superfund program, she said.

The Corson’s Corner proposal "had a strong home ownership component that was well received by the task force," Hatt said.

The plan envisions seven two-story, three-bedroom condos with 2,700 square feet selling for between $250,000 and $300,000 each. It would have two two-floor, two-bedroom condos with nearly 1,400 square feet selling for between $175,000 and $200,000.

It would have six one-bedroom condos, including three affordable units with 680 square feet selling for $90,000 to $115,000.

Hatt said recent tests found a new pollution "hot spot" 40 feet down and it could delay re-development.