“I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here tonight,” John Bell, Klodt’s vice president of construction and development, said at the Tuesday Housing and Redevelopment Authority meeting where officials signed off on the package.
Under the terms of the development agreement, Klodt will pay the city $10,000 per unit for the old Park Nicollet site at 815 First St. S. That price is capped at $1,120,000 if the company acquires the Lutheran Digest building at 31 Ninth Ave. S.—a site for which it has already signed a purchase agreement.
Redevelopment of the Park Nicollet site has been a major goal of the city since the health care group closed the clinic in 2009. Planners view the property as a vital part of transforming Eighth Avenue into a “pedestrian seductive” corridor that will entice riders into the downtown from the light rail station planned for Excelsior Boulevard.
The Park Nicollet and Lutheran Digest sites combined will have two buildings—a 73-unit building and a 90-unit building.
The Eighth Avenue building will contain 4,500 square feet of what Bell has called “quasi retail.” The city has pushed for lots of retail space because of the way it promotes an active street scene, but Klodt has warned that the market won’t necessarily support that now.
Talks considered the possibility of using that space for so-called live-work studios for artists, insurance agents and other people who work and live in the same space. Klodt will market that as an option but expects the building to initially be entirely residential.
However, the development agreement requires Klodt to list those spaces with a commercial broker either by Jan. 1, 2021, or when the light rail becomes operational, whichever comes first. Once one of those dates arrives, Klodt must market the spaces for commercial use for at least 270 days from the time the first residential tenant leaves.
Construction of the first phase will start in April 2013 and conclude by May 2014. Construction of the second phase will start May 2013 and conclude by October 2014.
“Can’t wait to see something happen,” Councilwoman Kristi Halverson said after the HRA approved the deal.
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