Edina officials have chosen Frauenshuh Commercial Real Estate as their preferred developer as they move forward with revitalizing an old public works site that has sat vacant since 2010.
The selection underscores the public-private development of the 3.3-acre lot, located between Jerry’s Foods supermarket and Hwy. 100. Still, several questions remain about what the public portion will include and how it will be funded.
Frauenshuh was chosen by the city to draw up potential mixed-use projects on the site in 2014. A resolution approved Thursday by Edina’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which consists of City Council members, extends their partnership and moves them a step closer to construction.
It also gives city officials time to figure out how they would use their part of the lot, which would include a 30,000-square-foot community center, Mayor James Hovland said Friday.
According to the latest agreement, the city would sell the land to Frauenshuh and then buy back the northern third where the community center would be built. The developer would erect a six-story apartment building with 143 units — rather than a 17-story high-rise that was proposed earlier this year — on the southern portion of the land.
The middle third would be an outdoor public space used for a variety of activities, including movie nights, food-truck lunches and a farmers market, said Edina’s economic development manager Bill Neuendorf.
The community center, estimated at $18.6 million, would replace the city’s art and senior centers. Council members have yet to determine what else it may include and how to pay for its construction, hoping for at least $5 million in “philanthropic contributions,” according to documents.
“All of us have the same idea that we want this to be a community hub,” Hovland said. “We want it to have a little broader purpose than just art and culture and the senior center. We want to be able to see it actively used by a variety of folks.”
The city could pledge $10.5 million in tax-increment financing to pay for some of its components, including the green space and public parking, according to documents.
The process is expected to move from the housing authority to the City Council in August. Construction on the private development could start as early as next spring.
Some council members said they were dismayed that construction on the public components couldn’t start at the same time; according to documents, that work might not begin until April 2022.
Various developments have been proposed for the land for more than a decade. The city even considered building a 70,000-square-foot community center there at one point.
The latest plan continues to be unpopular with some Edina residents, including Kim Montgomery. She has followed the debate over the land since the beginning and feels the city would benefit from using the entire site for a community center.
“Almost every surrounding community has a community-based center,” she said.
Montgomery called the current design “incredibly poor” and expressed concern about whether public use of the green space would be limited.
“I understand they’re tired of looking at this, I understand that they just want to get something done, but this is not the right answer,” she said.