MN United Owner and City Business Responsible for Delayed Demolition of St. Paul’s Midway – Twin Cities Mall

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A little over a year ago, those responsible for the redevelopment of the Midway shopping center unveiled plans for “United Villages at Midway,” two towers of residential housing atop a large surface parking podium. Those plans called for 234 homes between Spruce Tree Drive and Shields Avenue, where a former Big Top Liquors once stood, in the shadow of a $ 250 million football stadium.

The vision was great, like in the 9 to 18 floors. And these big projects are officially off the table.

“We deleted that. There were things we didn’t like about it, “said Dr Bill McGuire, owner of the Minnesota United professional soccer team and a driving force behind much of what goes on in the” Super Block ”of 35 acres surrounding the two years. old stadium.

Speaking to reporters at Allianz Field on Tuesday, McGuire insisted he was still optimistic about the redevelopment of the mall, which was badly affected by arson and looting after the death of last year George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Four former tenants have sued McGuire, owner RK Midway and associated property managers, claiming they were forced out of viable storefronts after the riots. On the other hand, neighborhood groups have asked why the demolition and redevelopment is not already underway.

In mid-May, the city ordered the mall’s vacant structures to be demolished by June 18. In early June, owner MA Mortenson Co. of Golden Valley said demolition was in a few days, and senior planning officials predicted the time for big changes just above the horizon. .

DEMOLITION PERMIT

Since then, the crickets.

“We’re not the obstacle,” McGuire said Tuesday. “Just ask the city what’s going on. We’re just waiting for the (demolition) permit. The permit (application) was submitted the first week of June.

So what’s the delay? The city’s legislative hearing officer is due to make a recommendation on August 25 to city council on “repair or removal,” a process of forced condemnation of structures located at 1484 University Avenue W. This is generally not necessary. when an owner has already submitted an application for a permit to demolish their own property.

A spokesperson for the city’s safety and inspections department said on Tuesday that the department could issue a demolition permit for the independent Big Top Liquors building as early as Friday, and soon after for the rest of the mall.

“The ministry’s concerns about permits have largely revolved around public safety,” Suzanne Donovan said in an email. “The contractor had not provided all the necessary documentation to enable staff to issue the demolition permits.”

Among the concerns, the city was awaiting confirmation that utilities throughout the demolition zone had been disconnected, which could happen on Thursday. In addition, “a pre-construction discussion must take place with the contractor to verify that the staging and sequencing of the demolition operation… will be safely completed,” Donovan said.

REDEVELOPMENT FROM WEST TO EAST?

In an interview, McGuire acknowledged that a master planning process had long envisioned new real estate development advancing from the western edges of the site along Snelling Avenue and moving east toward Pascal Avenue over a period of five or six years. Now it is those edges that are burnt by arson that could be demolished in a matter of days.

The eastern border of the mall, where the Foot Locker restaurant and Peking Garden were located, “would always come later,” McGuire said. “It just changed because of the unfortunate circumstances.”

McGuire joined former Best Buy manager Shari Bollard, the Loons’ new general manager, on Tuesday in greeting the media on her first official day on the job. Bollard, in a question-and-answer session, said she couldn’t talk about the future of the “Super Block”, but she’s already answering questions about her redevelopment, a good reminder that “” listen, do not be so in love with this controlled space that you are oblivious to what is going on outside of this controlled space. … I’m not going to make something up… on the first day. I know Bill spends a ton of time on it. … I just don’t know.

McGuire then displayed a quick render on his cellphone of a single, mostly residential, L-shaped apartment building with staggered balconies jutting out in a way that created a relatively bold design for the Midway. He said he was still considering this structure to sit on a number of podium parking spots, hugging Snelling Avenue. He refused to let a reporter take a photo of the concept.

A second structure could offer offices above small food stalls on the ground floor, as well as an “incubator” space for start-ups, he said.

“There are a few converted buildings and they are funded,” he said. “We have to wait for a few things to happen first.”

As to what would replace the western part of the mall once demolished, McGuire has been pretty silent.

“We’ll find someone,” he said. “There are things in the wind.”


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