City seeks feedback on mall plans

The city of Blaine has launched an online survey to gather feedback and collect ideas on plans to redevelop and revitalize Northtown Mall and the surrounding area.

The survey, at, launched after the Blaine Economic Development Authority entered into an agreement over the summer with Damon Farber to redevelop the 200-acre area after reviewing proposals from 10 firms.

Damon Farber, located in Minneapolis, has designed projects to transform regional mall districts into pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use destinations, including Excelsior and Grand, the Village at Mendota Heights and the Rosedale, Ridgedale and Burnsville Center shopping centers.

A study expected to take about nine months will address land use, redevelopment and revitalization options, multimodal transportation and other public improvements for the area that includes the mall, North Court Commons, Anoka County Library, Rainbow Village, AutoZone and other retail areas.

"The goal is to help Northtown Mall continue to be a relevant and important asset to the City and to spur growth appropriate with current market trends and community desires," the city said on its website.

Tim Harlow

New Brighton

Ice Castle attraction to return in January

Ice artisans will again build a massive walk-through ice castle at Ramsey County's Long Lake Regional Park this winter.

Utah-based Ice Castles announced its return to the New Brighton park with the goal of opening in January, weather permitting. Visitors will be able to pay to tour tunnels, caverns, towers, fountains, slides and crawl spaces built entirely from icicles. A team of about 20 will begin construction on the winter attraction as early as November.

The park last hosted Ice Castles in January 2020. At that time, the company obtained a special-use permit from the county and paid a daily rate of $476.75 for nearly 50 days.

Presale tickets will be available in December on the company's website,

Shannon Prather


Major senior living expansion approved

The northwest suburban city of Corcoran will soon experience a big boom in its senior population after the state made an exception to its nursing home construction moratorium.

Saint Therese, which has a flagship senior living community in New Hope and locations in Brooklyn Park, Woodbury and Shoreview, is expanding operations with the new $70 million Corcoran location while undergoing an $82 million renovation in New Hope. The state approved four of 13 requested exemptions to the moratorium, including the two Saint Therese projects.

The 154-unit apartment building in Corcoran will also include a 64-bed nursing care center on a 13-acre campus. After the project breaks ground in 2022 and wraps up in 2023, a recent market study found that the city's senior population will increase by nearly 40% over the next five years.

"There's nothing like this in town and up to now, our seniors have had to leave the city to find senior housing," City Administrator Brad Martens said in a news release. "This provides them with another lifestyle option."

Kim Hyatt