With a high number of commercial projects headed for the area, residents will have plenty to give input and decide on in the coming months
Working to get in front of several large development projects planned for her corner of the city, City Council Member Betsy Hodges (13th Ward) is trying to make sure residents have an opportunity to get involved.
On April 27, Hodges hosted a community meeting with city staff and Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman to go over some of the projects, even though in many cases details were limited or nonexistent due to the preliminary stages they’re in. But because all could happen within short time periods of each other, Hodges said she wanted to make sure everyone was prepared.
“At the moment, I can’t think of one of these sites that has anything imminent at City Hall, anything imminent that’s happening at committees here Downtown,” Hodges said. “But the danger is if you wait until that happens, people haven’t had enough lead time, they haven’t been able to think about it, they haven’t had the opportunity to talk to their neighbors or get information about their projects until something’s right in front of them. So we want to get out ahead of that.”
Projects in the pipeline include:
A mixed-use development at 43rd & Upton
Linden Hills resident, business leader and first-time developer Mark Dwyer has an agreement to purchase the Famous Dave’s lot in the epicenter of the neighborhood, which he hopes to develop along with the adjacent Edward Jones property and a parking lot to the north.
Dwyer pitched the idea a year ago and has been slowly working with community members to get ideas and develop plans. His most recent vision is for a four-story terraced structure with between 25 and 35 condominiums, along with a separate, terraced retail structure that could have two to five tenants. He said the idea for condos came after empty nesters in the neighborhood approached him about wanting to stay in the area but in a smaller home.
Dwyer recently applied for a grant to clean up the soil at the site. The next step, he said, is working with neighbors to finalize a plan that works and then moving through the city’s approval process. Dwyer is taking input on the project at ourlindenhills.com.
A light-rail transit station
A station for the upcoming Southwest light-rail line is being planned behind the Lake Calhoun-neighboring Whole Foods.
Hennepin County is currently negotiating with a consultant on the project, with a hire expected this month. City planner Amanda Arnold said planning work should follow immediately. Community meetings will likely be set up this summer and fall.
“We just haven’t been able to get too far out before a consultant is chosen,” Arnold said.
If everything goes as planned, the line could open by 2015.
A new Walgreens at the site of Pearson’s
Walgreens presented plans to community members last July for a new store at the current site of Pearson’s Edina Restaurant near 50th & France.
No plans have moved ahead since that meeting, and it’s unclear if the project will happen, though the owners of Pearson’s said they were ready to retire and part with the building.
A Crosstown plot
When the much-anticipated end of Crosstown construction arrives, the state will part with a triangular plot of land at Trunk Highway 121 near Crosstown and Lyndale Avenue.
Hodges said she doesn’t want the parcel to sit empty and has made it a goal to deal with the situation when it arrives. No plans for the land have been proposed.
The 50th & Bryant building
A Feb. 18 fire destroyed a historic building at 50th & Bryant that housed restaurants Heidi’s and Blackbird Café as well as retailers Patina, Shoppe Local and Stacey Johnson Jewelry Design.
That building can be used again, though it’s little more than a torched shell and a rebuild would require intense inspections. Hodges said it’s up to the property owners to make a decision, something that has yet to be done.
As these projects are in the works, Linden Hills Co-op has already started redeveloping a building near 44th & France in preparation for its move late this summer from 43rd & Upton. And near 50th & France, the Bancroft Condominium lot is expected to get some much needed ground cover to prevent blowing dirt.
The amount of activity planned in Ward 13 is unmatched in recent history, Hodges said. Anyone seeking more information about the developments can call Hodges’ office, 673-2213, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.