Grocery store proposed for Penn/Plymouth, public meeting scheduled for May 29


Find out about plans for a grocery store at Penn and Plymouth when the City of Minneapolis hosts a public meeting Tuesday May 29, 6 p.m. at UROC (the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center at 2001 Plymouth Ave. N) to present the recommended projects for the two city-owned properties at Penn and Plymouth, answer community questions and receive feedback.

Glenn Ford from Praxis will present his plans for a grocery store on the southeast corner, and Hennepin County will present their plans for an interim parking lot to support NorthPoint, on the southwest corner. “The City Council will consider this matter following neighborhood discussion and consideration. Council action is expected in mid July,” said Beth Grosen, senior project coordinator for business development at the City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED).

Grosen said that after being approached by the two entities, CPED posted the properties with a notice about a request for proposals issued this past November. They received a variety of proposals in January, and after a few months of talking with various proposers, the two original proposals are what remains.

She said the Praxis proposal would build a 23,000 square foot full service grocery store with fresh produce and deli, employing 150 people and costing $6.5 million.

Ford is an established business person with new ideas on sourcing foods locally, even “aquaponics,” growing fish, Grosen said. “His ideas will be unveiled at the meeting, they are still evolving.”

It’s possible Ford could attract interest in a second story with offices or other businesses, and put parking underground. The RFP stated that proposals for buildings of two to four stories would be preferred though not required. She said she’s leaning toward giving Praxis 18 months exclusive development rights to the property so he can pull together possible tenants, financing, and all the necessary permits as well as engaging the surrounding neighborhood.

Grosen said the parcels are being considered separately. It wouldn’t be safe to have people pushing shopping carts across the busy street to grocery parking on the southwest corner, and it would amount to supporting excess parking for the store size, she said.

Hennepin County, for NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, would pave and put in stormwater handling, lighting and landscaping for a 92-space parking lot, leasing it as a five-year interim use. “We would continue to market the site, and if we had a qualified developer” who came forward wanting that land earlier, NorthPoint would move off of it.

“At some point they may be building on their existing parking” if funds come through to expand NorthPoint’s campus. She said they are also open to a shared arrangement where places such as the funeral home, Urban League and UROC could use the lot for evening overflow parking.