The Kelley Farm is the last working farm in Bloomington and a symbol of the city’s agrarian past, but it may soon enter the history books.
The 59-acre property is up for sale with no special restrictions on the type of development that will replace the farm.
Wedged between the Mall of America and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the site is the largest undeveloped parcel in Bloomington and among the biggest in the Twin Cities.
It has been owned by the same family since 1932.
“The family has decided that there’s interest in the property, and they would like to move it. We are looking at either users, tenants or developers. We are keeping all our options open,” said Tom Baker, senior director at KW Commercial Midwest, the firm marketing the land.
The site is zoned for office, hotel or potentially retail.
Part of the land falls into a protected bluff overlay district and is reserved for conservancy, but the majority — about 40 acres — is buildable.
With the site’s lovely vistas of the Minnesota River Valley and proximity to the light-rail and South Loop shopping and commercial district, a senior city planner believes it is ripe for a corporate campus user or innovation business center.
The farm parcels are included in the city of Bloomington’s 2012 plan for the South Loop District, which surrounds the Mall of America and its adjacent commercial development.
“It’s a beautiful piece of property,” said Julie Farnham, senior planner with Bloomington. “It’s an area we are certainly planning for more development to happen. Whether there is a market for that or not, who knows. That is out of our control.”
More than 930 apartments were proposed on the site in 2004, but the city quashed the plan because the site is within the airport runway safety zone, which prohibits residential development.
In 2009, Bloomington-based United Properties had a purchase agreement for the site, but the sale fell through. James E. Kelley, who founded the farm, was once president of United Properties, well before the company was sold to the Pohlad family.
“At that time, the market was a little soft,” Baker said. “It’s one of those high-image, high-profile sites. The location is one of those that doesn’t come available often.”
Any building constructed on the site would need to abide by the Federal Aviation Administration’s height restrictions, which caps out at about 10 to 12 office floors.