Everything seemed to be on track. After three years, much negotiation and a series of neighborhood meetings, developers L&H Station group presented a preliminary construction schedule last March. Phase 1 groundbreaking was supposed to happen this spring. So where are the bulldozers? Well, don’t look for them any time soon.
In April, Minneapolis Public Schools suddenly announced that they were terminating their involvement with L&H Station Group. To date, no explanation has been provided.
Why? Perhaps they were impatient with the lengthy process. Maybe they were still smarting from the outcry over their expensive and politically unpopular new headquarters in north Minneapolis. Ultimately, they are not giving any explanations. In a recent article in Finance & Commerce, Chief Administrative Officer Mark Bollinger would only say, “my mission is to maximize the return for the district’s real estate assets.” This suggests they already have another buyer who can deliver more development value per square foot of land.
So, what will happen on the site? In the short term, nothing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, at least as far as most residents are concerned. We will have a site for our beloved Farmer’s Market. The existing building will still be used for Adult Basic Education. The popular parking spaces for YWCA members, market-goers and light rail users will remain.
The future remains uncertain. Presumably, MPS still wants to sell the land. Certainly the City of Minneapolis hopes to see transit-oriented development in that high-profile location. Hennepin County is currently moving their Human Services and Public Health Department out of downtown to several neighborhood hubs, and has expressed interest in locating one hub in a future development at the site. And Corcoran wants a development that will make our neighborhood more vibrant and livable.
Hopefully the next developers can satisfy everyone.