6317-21 Zane Av. N., Brooklyn Park
Type: Retail Size: 7,000 square feet (with addition)
Owner: Embassy Enterprises Architect: HAF Group
Brooklyn Park is working with the owner of a 41-year-old, one-story retail strip mall on Zane Avenue to expand and remodel the center, which city officials say is in a state of disrepair.
Under plans submitted by architects HAF Group on behalf of owner Embassy Enterprises, the fully rented mall -- which houses a food market, a check-cashing business and a hair braiding salon -- would get a 2,000-square-foot addition at its southern end.
The rest of the building would then get an exterior remodeling to make it consistent with the new section, at the same time mitigating several zoning code violations regarding its parking lot, lack of landscaping and setbacks that weren't in effect when it was built in 1971.
Brooklyn Park officials note that the center's parking lot is paved to the curb. The new plans call for it to be partially rebuilt and repositioned to make room for some landscaping elements -- including hawthorn trees, day lilies and other hardy perennials -- and a new sidewalk along Zane Avenue.
Also proposed is a decorative metal fence to separate the parking lot from the sidewalk.
While the new elements still wouldn't be up to the city's current landscaping standards, they represent "a welcomed improvement" from conditions at the center, planners say.
The addition would feature the same kind of large windows as the existing building. There'd be room enough for two new tenants but it's likely that a single tenant will rent the entire addition, the city says.
New lighting would also be installed in the resurfaced parking lot.
Because the upgrades would lessen but not eliminate some of the zoning nonconformities, the project still depends on the Brooklyn Park City Council granting variances for the effort. The city's planning staff supports those variances.
Don Jacobson is a St. Paul-based freelance writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.