In the 60 years since Southdale Center was built on Edina farmland, becoming the nation’s first indoor mall, more shopping projects were built on its south and east sides, and a major medical complex emerged on the north. Its west side was far quieter, with an office park that has one restaurant and a lot of parking.

That will soon change if Edina officials approve a $100 million redevelopment proposed by the new owner of the office park, Wildamere Properties.

The project at 6600 France Av. S. would consist of several new buildings, including a medical office building, two retail buildings, a residential tower and a hotel or office structure. “We want this to have a street presence that the city is proud of and bring some vibrancy to the location,” said Ted Jokerst, ­Wildamere president.

Wildamere needs approval from the city of Edina before it proceeds. If approved, the development of the complex would take five to seven years to complete, Jokerst said.

The 23-acre site, now called Southdale Office Centre, would be renamed Promenade on France. The biggest buildings now on the site, along with the popular Tavern on France restaurant, will remain. Two existing office buildings are slated to be demolished.

A new Bank of America, set to open next February, is included in the plan and would be the first of a set of retail buildings on the site along France.

The mix of uses on the property is an attempt to help increase activity at the site and vitalize it, Jokerst said.

“There’s a lot of surface parking here, and it’s an 8 [a.m.]-to-5 [p.m.] location,” he said. “The idea is to make it more of an 8 [a.m.]-to-10 [p.m.].”

Wildamere and partner Olympus Ventures purchased the property this past February for $55 million, and Wildamere has moved its own offices to the complex.

The new medical office building would provide 155,000 square feet of space for a tenant while the other two new office buildings would have 15,000 and 20,000 square feet of space. One tower, which could be either a seven-story hotel or office space, would offer about 105,000 square feet of space. The residential tower, planned for eight stories, would offer 70 units in more than 105,000 square feet of space. It’s still to be determined if the tower will be for condos or apartments.

The site will also include a little more than 1,000 underground parking stalls to complement the existing 900 spaces. Other ideas in the initial plan include a central walking area that runs through the middle of the site and green space to act as a buffer to the nearby residential area.

The proposed schedule is to start construction of the retail portion, the underground parking and improvements with the site’s entryways on France Avenue next spring. In another two years, the slated buildings will be demolished and construction of the other buildings is proposed to begin.

 

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