PROPERTIES IN PLAY: Projects Underway

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August 1, 2011
By: Sarah McKenzie and Jeremy Zoss
Sarah McKenzie and Jeremy Zoss

While still a far cry from the hot real estate market during the condo boom, development activity is starting to pick up in the city. Exciting projects are on the horizon, including new grocery stores and theaters on Hennepin, apartments planned for the historic Pillsbury “A” Mill site, among other places, and a vision for a new kayak park on the Mississippi.

Here’s a look at new development slated for downtown Minneapolis and the riverfront — some are at the early idea stage, others are approaching grand openings.

We’ve also included updates on Block E, Target Center and the Metrodome — sites with big question marks looming over them as to what the future holds. To see an interactive map with details on several other projects in the planning stages Downtown, along the riverfront and in Northeast, click on the "Properties in Play" graphic.

1. Ford Center 420 5th St. N.

The Ford Center — a historic building near Target Field undergoing extensive renovations — is scheduled to reopen by year’s end.

The advertising agency Olson, now based in Loring Park, and HGA Architects and Engineers, currently located at 701 Washington Ave. N., will be moving into the renovated 11-story, 265,000-square-foot building. It was built in 1912 to house a vertical assembly plant and car showroom for the Ford Motor Company.

It’s undergoing a $40 million makeover designed to make it more sustainable. Its massive windows will be replaced with more energy efficient ones.

HGA, the architect on the project, will have 80,000 square feet of office space in the building. Olson, meanwhile, will occupy 125,000 square feet.

2. The Bachelor Farmer 200 N. 1st St.

Eric and Andrew Dayton, sons of Gov. Mark Dayton, have opened a new restaurant called the Bachelor Farmer and a cocktail bar called the Marvel Bar.

They have rehabbed the old Marvel Rack building in the North Loop.

Eric Dayton bought the building in 2008 while working on his MBA at Stanford. It also has a rooftop garden.


3. Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts 528 Hennepin Ave. S.

When it opens in September, the Cowles Center will be the area’s premier venue for dance. The center is home to three buildings — the Goodale Theater (the former Shubert Theater that was moved in 1999 to make way for Block E), the Hennepin Center for the Arts and a new building for the U.S. Bank Atrium and the Target Education Studio. Ragamala Dance is the first company lined up to perform in the Cowles Center on Sept. 23.

4. 222 Hennepin Hennepin & Washington

The developers behind the latest redevelopment plan for the former Jaguar dealership site are planning a seven-story mixed use development called 222 Hennepin. The plan calls for approximately 280 apartments and a 37,500-square-foot grocery store, said Mark Schoening, a senior vice president for Ryan Companies US Inc. Ryan has teamed up with the Excelsior Group on the project. The developers will be going before the city’s Planning Commission in August. The grocery tenant has not been made public.


5. New North Loop Apartments 701 2nd St N.


The property at 710 N. 2nd St. is being eyed for a six-story apartment building, spearheaded by TE Miller Development. 
TE Miller principle Rob Miller is actively seeking input on the project from residents of the surrounding  buildings. The development is expected to feature 96–100 market rate apartments if it makes it through the city-approval process.

6. Brave New Workshop 824 Hennepin Ave. S.


The Brave New Workshop has found a new home at the former Hennepin Stages theatre at 824 Hennepin Ave. S. The space, which was formerly used by Stagetime Productions/Hey City Stages and the Hennepin Theatre Trust, will become the new performance space for the Brave New Workshop’s scripted performances, as well as its business services and corporate training sessions. Only the Brave New Workshop’s classes and student performances will remain at the Uptown location.

Brave New Workshop plans to hold about 220 performances in the space every year and estimates that the theatre will pay $25,000 a year in property taxes. The space has not generated property taxes since 2004. (Note: This brief has been revised to correct information about the Uptown location.)

7. Scherer Park 9th Ave. NE

A plan for a kayak park at the former Scherer Bros. Lumber Co. site just north of the Plymouth Avenue Bridge is the centerpiece of a redevelopment plan for the riverfront called RiverFIRST. The architectural design team behind the plan — Berkeley, Calif.-based Tom Leader Studio and Boston-based KVA — envision a kayak park, community arts center, beaches and possibly housing on the site. The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board owns the former lumberyard site. Besides Scherer Park, the RiverFIRST plan calls for several other projects designed to enhance the riverfront, including restored wetlands, biohavens and new parks. The proposal will be presented to the Park Board and Minneapolis City Council in the fall.

8. Pillsbury A Mill complex 2nd Street SE & Main Street SE

The Pillsbury A Mill complex on the river’s east bank has made it on the list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The 7.9-acre complex was once home to the world’s largest flour mills. The Pillsbury A Mill building is a National Historic Landmark. Minneapolis developer Schafer Richardson once had plans for several condo buildings at the site, but those were shelved. Now, developers Doran Cos. and Dominium have proposed plans for apartments in the old mills.

Owen Metz, a senior development associate at Plymouth-based Dominium, said the company wants to “convert and adaptively-reuse” the A-Mill complex buildings to make way for 240 apartments. “The units will be loft style with high-end finishes and open layouts accommodating artist live-work studios,” he said.

Dominium also plans to restore the historic machine shop building for a commercial tenant. If the project clears the city approval process, Metz said they expect to start construction sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Doran Cos., meanwhile, is planning to build two new seven-story buildings near the A-Mill complex that would have 375 apartments.


9. Lunds on Hennepin 12th & Hennepin

Plans for a Lunds at 12th & Hennepin were initially announced in 2008. Now, Lunds is officially moving ahead on the project. The latest plan calls for a 9,000-square-foot grocery store with an outdoor patio plus office space in the upper floors of the building. There will be a liquor store adjoining the market, too, at 1208 Harmon Place. Lunds is aiming to start construction in the fall with an anticipated opening spring 2012. The grocery chain has another urban market in Northeast — a 26,000-square-foot store that opened in 2006.