Bloomington has a megamall, a National Wildlife Refuge and an international airport. Soon it’s going to get a supersized apartment project.
McGough Development plans to build a six-story, 402-unit apartment building, which will be the second biggest underway in the Twin Cities after one in Minneapolis called the Hub.
The McGough project is part of Bloomington Central Station, a 50-acre development the firm has been shepherding for more than a dozen years along the Blue Line light rail near the Mall of America.
“A sense of place is starting to form,” said Mark Fabel, executive vice president of development for McGough.
When the project was first pitched in the mid-2000s, brochures said it would “change how Minnesotans live, work, connect and play in the 21st century.” Developers believed the project’s scale and mix of housing, retail and offices would form the metro area’s third downtown.
More than a decade later, Fabel said the latest complex should help the overall project finally deliver on that goal.
The master-planned Bloomington Central Station is just east of the Mall of America and is bordered by 34th Avenue S., American Boulevard, Old Shakopee Road and 30th Avenue S.
It includes two 17-story glass towers with about 260 condos called the Reflections at Bloomington Central Station and a 302-room Hyatt Regency that opened in 2016.
There is also a 2-acre park that serves as an anchor for the development, a new parking ramp and a HealthPartners tower. In 2016, Lennar Multifamily Communities completed IndiGO, another six-story building with almost 400 rental apartments. That building, along with the one that is about to be built, were designed by ESG Architects of Minneapolis. Plans call for more offices and commercial space.
Because of its proximity to both downtowns, the airport and a major transportation corridor, the area has many natural draws for developers and, ultimately, residents. Fabel said the light-rail line was the differentiator that allowed the company to build high-density housing.
“I doubt that multifamily residential would have been developed on this site without light rail,” he said.
McGough’s newest apartment project will have units that range from 520 to 1,400 square feet with one to three bedrooms. Some units will be walk-up townhouse styles. Rents haven’t been set.
Many of the apartment buildings in Bloomington and surrounding suburbs were built more than 30 years ago, a time when bus lines guided development.
Though the average apartment vacancy rate in Bloomington has risen slightly and is a bit higher than the metrowide average, it’s still considered a tight market. At the end of last year the average vacancy rate in Bloomington was 3.8 percent, according to Marquette Advisors.
Bloomington Port Authority administrator Schane Rudlang said the project is in a tax-increment financing district and the city is still negotiating various details with McGough, including the number of income-restricted units to be in the project. The project is in a redevelopment area that city officials call the South Loop district plan. The plan was adopted in 2013.
“We want to turn that area into a more urban, walkable place,” Rudlang said. “We want to keep the momentum going and get more residents in that area and provide opportunities for people to live along light rail.”