No developers stepped forward to transform a tract of land north of downtown along the Mississippi River.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board recently issued a request for qualifications to gauge developer interest to work on a concept plan for the development of Parcel D, the former home of Scherer Bros. Lumber located north of the Plymouth Avenue Bridge on the east bank of the river. But no submissions were received by the Dec. 16 deadline.
"It still has every capacity to be developed. … We are not out of options on what should happen here," said Michael Schroeder, assistant superintendent of planning services at the Park Board, in an interview.
The vacant 3.55-acre site is part of a larger redevelopment project that will include parkland, a recreational trail and a reclaimed island.
Parcel D was the only portion of the project that was to be privately developed, but now, all sorts of options can be on the table including the site being used as parkland, Schroeder said.
"The Park Board still owns this property," he said. "It's still a development property."
Last year, a request for proposals was issued exclusively to Ryan Cos. and Graco Inc., which wanted to develop its headquarters on the site. The Park Board rejected that idea.
The new request "was intended to provide for a more qualitative review of respondents and ideas," according to a message sent this week by Park Board staff. The firm selected was supposed to work with a community advisory committee and the Park Board to craft a concept plan for the site and later develop the site after necessary approvals.
Staff followed up with several development teams to understand why they had not submitted responses. Some teams weren't keen on the idea of a possible land lease arrangement with the Park Board, which had been suggested in guidelines for the site. Some were deterred by the extensive community engagement process that the Park Board wanted to go through.
There were also physical challenges with the site, which is small with limited street access.
The likely next step in the process will be for board members to discuss strategy adjustments, but no meeting has yet been scheduled.
"There is a lot of thinking that we need to go through, but we are not in a rush," Schroeder said. "I think our commissioners would say we want to do this right and if that means we have to wait some time to make sure the right thing happens, then we will do that."