A Nicollet Island/East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) task force has endorsed a major redevelopment plan for the Eastgate shopping mall site at Central & University avenues.
The proposal calls for a flashy, glassy mixed-use development, featuring 45,000 square feet of retail space and 110-120 condos, said Jim Stolpestad, chief executive officer of St. Paul-based Exeter Realty.
Exeter has partnered with Northeast-based Hillcrest Development on the project. Toronto-based architects Alliance is the building's designer.
The contemporary design contrasts dramatically with the current Eastgate -- an aging strip mall in the heart of a neighborhood that has seen a proliferation of upscale residential developments in recent years.
The new proposal calls for two buildings: a nine-story building facing University Avenue Southeast and a six-story building facing Central Avenue Southeast.
Both buildings would feature retail at ground level, parking on the second level and condos on the higher floors. The Central Avenue building would feature a triangle-shaped patio above the retail level.
The developers expect to go before the city's Planning Commission in November. The group has met with the NIEBNA task force several times and received official endorsement at an Oct. 6 meeting. The task force also includes representatives of Marcy-Holmes, St. Anthony East, St. Anthony West, the North Loop and the Old St. Anthony Association, which represents East Bank businesses.
At press time, the group was scheduled to go before the city's Heritage Preservation Commission on Oct. 12 for permission to raze a four-story office building behind Eastgate.
An upscale grocer, likely Lunds, is expected to be part of the redevelopment. Some Eastgate tenants, such as Cost Cutters and Snyder's, have expressed interest in opening in a new commercial space once construction is complete, Stolpestad said.
The popular neighborhood bar, Mac's Sports Bar and Grill, 301 Central Ave. N., is expected to close. The hangout is owned by ex-Gophers star Bob McNamara.
McNamara said he hasn't decided whether to be part of the new building or to move to a new location.
If the developers obtain city approval, mall demolition is expected to start this winter.
NIEBNA Chair Victor Grambsch, who has overseen the Eastgate redevelopment task force meetings, said he's pleased with the proposal.
"We are very favorably impressed with the developer and the architects that the developer has brought into the project," he said.