Developers have unveiled early redesign plans for the Eastgate strip mall as a mixed-use development at the corner of Central & University avenues.
There will be 130 condos and 30,000 square feet of retail space, including a spot for an upscale grocer.
Representatives of Northeast-based Hillcrest Development and Exeter Realty, a St. Paul real estate development company, presented a Nicollet Island/East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) task force with early designs Aug. 25 to vet concerns.
The task force also includes residents from surrounding neighborhoods.
The proposal calls for a new nine-story building in Eastgate's current parking lot. The first level would be reserved for retail, including a 20,000-square-foot grocery store space. The developers are negotiating with Lund Food Holdings to secure a full-service Lund's grocery store there.
The grocer currently leases Eastgate's Rick's Market, 313 Central Ave. NE.
Above the retail level, the developers are considering building three levels of parking followed by three to five levels of condos.
The Eastgate strip mall and adjoining four-story office building would be razed.
NIEBNA Chair Victor Grambsch, who heads the Eastgate redevelopment task force, said the group has urged the developer to ditch the inner courtyard, arguing it might serve as a den for drug dealing.
The residents are also pushing for Rick's Market to remain open until a new grocery store is completed because elderly customers depend on the store, he said.
The task force also recommended keeping parking exits reserved for 4th Street and University Avenues instead of funneling drivers out of an exit on Central Avenue.
Another Eastgate Task Force meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 15 at Pracna on Main, 119 SE Main St.