From senior condos to a yoga retreat center, the Hindu Society of Minnesota has big plans for nearly 60 acres of vacant land in Maple Grove.

In December, the City Council approved a concept plan by the Hindu Society to build six housing units for staff members of the west metro temple, the first of several redevelopment projects planned there for the next 10 to 15 years.

Preliminary plans include senior housing, a community center, yoga retreat center and cottages, education center and outdoor recreation to be built next to the Hindu temple, considered the largest in the nation.

“The community is growing,” said Balu Iyer, chairman of the Hindu Society. “There is a need.”

The Hindu Society hopes to get approval on the master plan from the city later this year and is continuing to raise money to support the projects.

“We see them as a great partner for the city,” City Administrator Heidi Nelson said, adding that the development coincides with other plans for the suburb’s northwest quadrant.

The 43,000-square-foot, $9.5 million temple opened in 2006 on Troy Lane N. Surrounded by wetlands, soybean fields and parked combines, the temple was a long-standing dream for the local Hindu community, which first opened a temple in Minneapolis in 1978.

Today there are an estimated 40,000 practicing Hindus in the metro area. The Maple Grove temple can accommodate up to 5,000 people at a time.

As a result, the Hindu Society has been working on plans for redevelopment of the acreage it bought a decade ago, trying to balance what the growing community needs with what it can afford, Iyer said.

“We’ve been talking about this for the past 10 years,” he said of the master plan. “Slowly it has taken shape. [For Maple Grove] it’s kind of a win-win situation.”

As soon as May, the Hindu Society could break ground on the $1 million residential building next to the temple for staff members, including priests and a cook. Then, Iyer said, they hope to build the school, estimated to cost $4 million, over the next few years.

The education center would address the growing need for more space. When Sunday classes first started at the temple, there were 10 kids; now, Iyer said, classes draw 350 children.

Two 24- to 28-unit senior condo buildings could be built within three years for members who are looking to downsize and live closer to the temple.

Plans for a community center, which could hold events and concerts, and a yoga retreat center, which could include six cottages for visitors to stay while they visit the retreat center, aren’t expected to be built for several years.

The Hindu Society’s annual Diwali event is held at the Minneapolis Convention Center and draws thousands of people. And yoga classes during the week have become very popular, Iyer said.

“We don’t have enough space,” he said. “The whole Maple Grove community is really actively involved.”

 

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