Hot property: 3M research and development building

  • Article by: DON JACOBSON , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2013 - 10:51 PM

3M research and development building NE corner, McKnight Road & Conway Av., Maplewood

Type: Industrial Size: 400,000 square feet

Site: 17 acres Cost: $150 million

Developer: 3M Co.

Details: 3M Co. announced in September it will build a new, $150 million research and development lab building on a vacant parcel in its Maplewood headquarters campus, demonstrating a continuing commitment to its Minnesota roots even as the majority of its revenue is now derived outside the United States.

This month, more details of the building plans were revealed with the release of a draft environmental assessment worksheet for the project.

A concept site plan included in the worksheet showed that the four-story structure, to be dubbed Building 280, will be shaped like an inverted "L" and situated on the northeast corner of the 17-acre lot, with the majority of its space overlooking 3M Lake -- part of the Holloway-Beaver Lake system of wetlands in Maplewood.

The company plans to include an adjacent parking lot with space for 725 cars and is intending to transfer 1,000 researchers and scientists into the new building, up from the 700 reported earlier.

3M said the small lake on its property will be the receiving body for storm water runoff from the development and indicated it is in discussions with the city and Ramsey Metro Watershed District officials to install such mitigation features as bioretention swales and underground storage and infiltration facilities.

One issue with the site is the possible presence of endangered Blanding's turtles. The company said it will follow state recommendations for minimizing the project's impact on them, including removing any turtles found in the construction zone by hand and not disturbing any turtle nests.

The city will consider the environmental assessment worksheet and accept public comments over the next few months and then determine whether a more stringent environmental impact statement is needed.

Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be contacted at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.

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