consultants are sandburs

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Edina - investing in making Southdale Mall and environs more a walkable experience and less auto dependent; and with high-end apartments being built there as part of the package. Yet more luxury apartment growth, in competition with Flaherty in Ramsey.

Strib publishing an online March 31 item, here. As in Ramsey at Coborns, Lund's intends parking and auto orientation because, as with Coborns, lugging three heavy grocery bags from store to home exceeds most "walkability" expectations - Strib publishing this image provided them from Lund's:

Strib reports:

Wide sidewalks and bike paths will link the store and apartments to the Promenade, the art-lined greenway that runs from Centennial Lakes to the Galleria.

City Council members hope Lunds’ $45 million-to-$50 million development is the first in what ultimately could become an area with shopping, doctors’ offices, recreation and work within reach of people who walk or bike.

“It’s another step in the evolution of that whole Southdale district,” said Mayor Jim Hovland. “More people are living there. … Eventually we will see a lot more greenery, and over the next 20 or 30 years, it could almost become a little village to itself.”

Lunds is partnering with Minneapolis developer Schafer Richardson to build three apartment buildings with a total of 246 units. Lunds’ real estate adviser, Jim Vos of Cresa Advisors, said the Edina development is the most ambitious Lunds has ever attempted.

“This is bigger than anything they’ve ever done before,” Vos said. “They had an old store on a very large site with a lot of excess land, and the question was, do we put in more strip retail or do we do something unique?

[...] Centennial Lakes, with its park, apartments, condos and retail, introduced mixed-use development in the Southdale area in the late 1980s. In recent years, Edina has tried to push that theme north, with the lure of connecting to Promenade walking and bike paths.

Hovland said city officials hoped the greenway would trigger private development, and then came the Byerly’s plan to redevelop its nearly 10-acre site.

It wasn’t easy to satisfy the city. The Lunds proposal went to the City Council with no recommendation from the Planning Commission after the group split on the plan because of concerns about sustainability and access.

“They were trying to push us to a better place … but it’s a question of what the marketplace will accept,” Vos said.

Byerly’s is a grocery store that people visit once or twice a week, he said.

“Nobody is walking from [Edina’s] Country Club neighborhood with three bags of groceries,” he said. “We might get more walkers here, but we couldn’t ignore cars, because that’s how most people experience the store.”

In the end, the store was pushed close to France [Avenue] to “enliven the France Avenue retail experience” and the apartment buildings were moved nearer the Promenade and into the neighborhood, Vos said.

[emphasis added]. "Schafer Richardson" is named as the high-end rental builder/developer. Earlier, perhaps related but perhaps not, Flaherty was mentioned as sniffing around Edina; this link. There was reporting about "StuartCo" doing the same re upscale rental in Edina's Southdale locale; here. Whether there's enough market potential to go around to where Flaherty may still end up holding a stake there is unclear from any current online reporting I could find. Presumably they'd want parking ramp designing and municipal subsidy; as is the Flaherty habit; and the Edina officials seem to have shown due patience in examining multiple proposals and ideas without being shoehorned into any particular developer's camp.

See, also, here and here (Flaherty mentioned). Edina officials having taken a restrained, civilized and measured approach to growth is instructive to other metro communities. You get what you wait for and by waiting you can call the shots instead of having some developer's person call shots for you. Edina teaches that, or appears to, from reporting that is online.

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