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City officials also pushed sustainability. Lunds agreed to try to exceed state energy standards by at least 5 percent, but the council asked them to push it to 10 percent if possible.
Traffic is a concern
The Byerly’s redevelopment coincides with work to improve France Avenue, an intimidating corridor that has up to eight lanes of traffic. Several intersections in the Southdale area are being redesigned to make them more pedestrian-friendly, and in some places sidewalks are being added that will have a buffer between the sidewalk and street.
At a city hearing, a few residents said they were worried that the development could add too much traffic in an already-busy area. City studies indicate there should not be a problem, but Hovland said he believes the city will have to watch future development to make sure roads don’t get too congested.
Ironically, what’s happening now near Southdale fits with what architect Victor Gruen envisioned for his groundbreaking shopping center in the 1950s. Gruen saw Southdale as a sort of village center, with homes, schools, recreation and medical services nearby, and he eventually became disillusioned with the intensely retail focus of many malls.
The Byerly’s store on France will remain open until the new one opens in fall 2014, Vos said. The first apartment building also will open then, with the other two expected to be done by summer 2015.
Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380