Deephaven-based Stonehenge USA took the next step toward renovating the old Mayon Plastics building as a new retail center.
Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved a site plan for the "Stonehenge Hopkins Retail Center" at 415 17th Ave. N.—at least the third time a developer has brought the city a proposal for the long-vacant building.
David Carland, Stonehenge’s vice president of development, said the company is about halfway toward leasing out spaces in the building. A national sport haircut business, a national paint and decorating business and a tanning operation look to occupy some of the building’s five or six spaces. Stonehenge is also in talks with a frozen yogurt company, a cell phone dealer and sandwich business.
Carland declined to specify the names of the potential businesses.
Stonehenge needs lessees to occupy about 70 percent of the spaces in order to move forward, Carland said. He hopes to start work in August, with some retailers opening in time for the holiday shopping season.
Neighbors had voiced worries at information meetings and last week’s Zoning and Planning Commission meeting. Brett Eslinger, whose home sits at the southeast corner of the old Mayon building, told commissioners he worried about the smell of garbage and smoking from employees on breaks—although he added that the project will overall make the area look a lot better.
Council members quizzed Carland about those concerns—as well as issues such as lighting, noise and vehicle traffic. Carland answered that planners, on the advice of city staff, had oriented the building toward 17th street—in effect, turning the quieter back toward the neighborhood.
Said Mayor Gene Maxwell: “It’s a very exciting project for the city. We’re just also trying to make sure it’s good for the neighborhood.”