Hopkins has several exciting development projects on the horizon, but vacant properties still dot the community’s real estate landscape.
While there’s little doubt residents would like to fill those properties, they also offer the opportunity to remake Hopkins’ landscape.
In this feature, Patch asks you to imagine the future of these spaces. Do you see a new restaurant? A new store? Something no one else has considered? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
525 Blake Road N.
What was it? A BP service station
Current owner: Samawi & Sons Properties Llc
Age of structure: 1968
Area: 25,960 square feet
Market value: $512,000
History: The BP site has proven particularly difficult to redevelop, in part because the owner is deep in arrears. Pawn chain maX It Pawn so it could build a pawn shop on the site. But council members decided that didn’t mesh with their vision for the Blake Road corridor and . The pawn chain warned the site would sit vacant for years, but Minnetonka-based developer Solomon Real Estate Group went before the council just five months later to propose building a retail center on the site. The developer bought the bank note from the lender that holds the mortgage, giving Solomon the ability to foreclose upon the property. It has since initiated foreclosure proceedings, said Kersten Elverum, the city’s economic development and planning director. Solomon’s proposal involves more than just the BP site. It would swap land for a sliver of Cambridge Towers’ site and acquire a nearby Minnesota Department of Transportation property. In order to avoid a public bid, MnDOT must first transfer the land to the city, which would immediately turn around and sell it to Solomon—a measure called a “simultaneous close.” The state agency is currently circulating the transfer proposal among its staff, Elverum said. Solomon estimated in December that MnDOT approval could take a year. If all goes as planned, the site should have two 6,500-square-foot buildings with space for retail businesses and a “fast casual restaurant.” Noodles & Co. is among the companies that have expressed interest in the site.