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Former Rainbow site in south Minneapolis to be redeveloped



A former Rainbow Foods grocery store in south Minneapolis has been sold to be redeveloped into possible new retail and office space.

Wellington Management plans to develop the site at 2919 26th Ave. S in the Longfellow neighborhood after it purchased the lot for $5.35 million, according to a certificate of real estate value made public Friday. St. Paul-based Wellington bought the 5.8-acre site from Minnehaha/Lake Partners, which is associated with real estate developer Watson Centers.

The 60,000-square foot store has sat unused since the grocery store was closed in 2014. Developers don’t know for sure if there will be any changes to the tenants that occupy the about 10,000 square feet of retail space on the site as well as an existing Wendy’s fast food restaurant, said David Wellington director of acquisitions and development at Wellington.

“At this point, we are looking at a variety of development scenarios,” Wellington said.

It’s possible that there will be just a single retail tenant in the main part of the building or multiple tenants who would most likely include some non-retail users who could occupy space toward the back of the building, he said. In a later phase, it’s possible that apartments could be erected on the site as well.

In the last half year of marketing the site, Wellington Management has received more inquiries for interested users than it has space for, Wellington said. The density and amount of traffic the site gets makes it ideal for many potential users, he said. The site is near the Lake Street light rail station.

Wellington already owns quite a bit of property in the area including the 149,000-square-foot Hi-Lake Shopping Center, the Lake Street Station senior housing project, the Corridor Flats condos, and the Greenway Office Building. Its Blue Line Flats apartment project located at E. 32nd Street and Hiawatha is under construction.

“We feel good about investing in the Longfellow neighborhood and that location,” Wellington said. “We think that the whole area is going in a really good direction. It’s fun to be part of that story.

Wellington would like to start renovations at the site this fall with new possible tenants moving in next spring or summer.

Ryan Cos. give more details on Minneapolis office tower

What’s big and tall and green all over?

Apparently, the proposed 17-story Block One office tower that Ryan Cos. hopes to build near U.S. Bank Stadium.

At a Thursday night committee of the whole planning commission meeting, Ryan designers presented its latest plans for its 460,000 square-foot office building that if completed, would be built above the existing parking ramp on the corner of Park Avenue and 4th Street.

One of the most notable features of the tower is a living wall system of plants that is planned to climb the southern and western sides of the building and cover approximately 6,700 square feet of the tower’s façade with lush, green foliage. It’s an ambitious feat for the developer, which hasn’t attempted a vegetative installation of this height.

“We really wanted to bring the outside in,” said Tony Barranco, Ryan’s vice president of development, at the meeting. He added, the developer wanted to continue the aesthetic of the nearby Commons park with the living walls.

Other features planners highlighted included a 7-foot-wide pedestrian walkway along 4th Street, space for a possible police substation or bike parking and retail area that could exist on the ground floor (2,000 square feet) and on the second level (4,180 square feet). On the top level, Ryan representatives suggested there would be 6,000 square feet of space for a potential restaurant.

Two 300 square-foot signs are being proposed near the top of the building on the south and east sides. There aren’t plans to place signs on the roof of the building, which has been a source of contention at the nearby Wells Fargo office towers that Ryan built. Barranco stressed that when it came to design, the new building would be different from the 17-story twin towers across the street.

“We didn’t want it to be a third Wells tower,” Barranco said.

As of Friday afternoon, Ryan had not submitted a formal application to the planning commission.

See more details in drawings and renderings of the tower.