The mostly barren landscape around Jensen’s Supper Club in Eagan is beginning to fill in, a change owner Doron Jensen views as satisfying and long overdue.
“This is a whole new game compared to where we were sitting a few years ago. I’m ecstatic,” Jensen said.
The Cedar Grove area, once Eagan’s prime commercial district, is a redevelopment project more than a decade in the works, stalled by legal battles over the city’s use of eminent domain and the economic meltdown.
Now an upscale outlet mall with about 100 stores is going up, and plans for a 180-unit apartment building are moving forward. Developers, including one group interested in building a 130-room hotel, are taking a fresh look at the 65-acre site adjacent to the new Bus Rapid Transit Line on Cedar Avenue.
Jensen’s and the Cedarvale Lanes bowling alley were the only merchants left after the city cleared away others to make way for a mixed-use development. “We survived because we were destination businesses. If we had relied on drive-by traffic, I’m not sure we would have made it,” Jensen said.
The city has laid the groundwork for renewed interest in the area, hiring an appraiser for land not included in the outlet mall project. This spring it contacted several multifamily housing developers to gauge their interest in building an apartment complex.
“Multi-unit housing has long been a priority for the site,” said Jon Hohenstein, director of community development. The city is considering selling nearly five acres to a builder proposing a complex with apartments furnished with granite countertops, custom wood cabinets, patios and decks.
Jensen also is making plans for what he expects will be an influx of customers drawn to the redeveloped area. Next year he expects to remodel the decade-old interior of his restaurant to bring it up to date. He’s also trying to buy a small piece of adjacent land for extra parking.
“I also want to some landscaping and overall fixing up on the outside,” Jensen said. “It’s time to pretty the place up for the new traffic.”