Hopkins’ Housing and Redevelopment Authority has selected Klodt Inc. to redevelop the former Park Nicollet site on Eighth Avenue.
The authority on Tuesday authorized staff to negotiate a contract that will allow Minneapolis-based Klodt to build on a thoroughfare that is between the downtown and a future light rail station on Excelsior.
Park Nicollet closed the site in 2009 as part of a consolidation effort in response to increasing numbers of unpaid medical bills and shrinking numbers of patients. The city snapped up the property because of its potential for creating an enticing streetscape that could lure light rail riders onto Mainstreet.
Three developers responded when Hopkins sent out a request for proposals to redevelop the property, and the city quickly narrowed those down to two companies: Klodt and Richfield-based .
Some of the council members actually liked Cornerstone’s proposal more. But the consensus was that Klodt’s financial resources gave it a better chance at seeing the project through.
The shrinking credit markets that accompanied the recession have made funding a recurring problem for development, as .
Councilwoman Cheryl Youakim said she still isn’t 100 percent happy with the selection of Klodt, although she added that she’s confident staff will be able to work with the developer toward a project that fits the city's vision.
“I’m harboring hope that the proposal that Klodt has come up with is just the starting point and not the ending point,” Youakim said.
Councilman Rick Brausen countered that both developers are quality companies and that Klodt’s plan was just “maybe not as colorful.”
Regardless, Tuesday’s decision is just the first step toward getting the project moving. The HRA, which is composed of the same people as the City Council, will have a work session early in the summer to discuss the design elements. The Zoning and Planning Commission will also likely look at the concept, and the city will seek public input.
The authority could approve a contract by the end of summer. Construction could start as soon as next spring.