Park Board approves purchase of riverfront property for trails

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August 21, 2013 // UPDATED 10:07 am - August 29, 2013
By: Nick Halter
The view from the Sample Room docks.
Photo by Sarah McKenzie
Nick Halter

The Minneapolis Park Board has agreed to purchase what it hopes is the first of several pieces of residential riverfront property in Northeast that will some day become a linear park in the mold of Lake Calhoun or Lake Harriet.

The property, 2128 Marshall St. NE, is just north of Gluek Park, right next door to The Sample Room. There’s a home on the 22,650 square-foot property, which is owned by Jim Rosenberg and Christine Bravo Rosenberg.

The couple are also part-owners of The Sample Room, a popular Northeast eatery.

There are 10 properties on Marshall Street between Gluek Park and Edgewater Park, which reaches the Lowry Avenue Bridge. The Park Board, in its RiverFirst Initiative redevelopment plan, envisions bike and pedestrian trails in between Marshall Street and the Mississippi River.

Bruce Chamberlain, the Park Board’s assistant superintendent of planning, said acquiring those properties will likely take at least a decade.

“We’re patient and we are willing and eager to work with people when they are ready,” he said.

Chamberlain said the Park Board has no plans to acquire The Sample Room.

“Within this kind of boundary of parkland, there are these opportunities that are too great to pass up or mess with, and I would put The Sample Room in that category,” he said. “To have that restaurant exist and co-exist with parkland would be great for parkland and would be great for the enterprise.”

Sample Room co-owner Darren Ennis agreed. 

“There's no question the Sample Room should remain and would quite certainly add to the park's ‘amenities,’” he wrote in an e-mail.

The Park Board unanimously approved the purchase agreement of Rosenbergs’ property on Aug. 21. The Park Board, under a draft contract, would pay the couple $385,000. Hennepin County assessed the property’s market value at $227,500, but Chamberlain said the Park Board hired an appraiser who pegged the value at $836,000.

Chamberlain said the couple is making a donation by selling for $385,000.

“It’s pretty typical for county assessor market value assessments of property to be significantly below what the appraised value ends of being, so that’s not uncommon, and a lot of times its at least double, if not triple,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain said funding would come from Met Council regional park funds, Park Board funds and some other partners, which he didn’t identify.