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Richfield’s ‘Downtown’ Quickly Getting a Facelift

Separate developments on Lyndale Avenue and 66th Street are moving forward.

While many city residents have recently expressed concern over the proposed , it’s easy to forget that a number of other construction projects are underway in Richfield.

Rapidly transforming the look and feel of the city’s ‘downtown’—that area of Richfield near the intersection of Lyndale Avenue and 66th Street—three major developments are rapidly transforming the look and feel of the area. The result, touted Richfield Community Development’s Karen Barton in an article published earlier this week by the Star-Tribune, will be a rejuvenated Richfield.

“We’re feeling really good about the redevelopment that’s occurring there and the regeneration of the whole area,” Barton told the newspaper. “We want vitality there, and it’s coming together nicely.”

Lyndale Plaza Apartments

Located across the street from the former Lyndale Garden Center, construction by the St. Croix Group is ongoing as Lyndale Plaza Apartments takes shape. The development will house 94 units—roughly a fifth of them reserved for affordable housing. Barring unforeseen delays, tenants could move in sometime next fall.

“They’re really what we need in Richfield in terms of updated rental units,” Barton said. “They’re incorporating a really nice transit plaza into the development as well, so they’re able to connect to bus—rapid transit—that goes right downtown."

Lyndale Garden Center Transforms Into Lyndale Gardens

Cornerstone Group is the owner and developer of the site of the former Lyndale Garden Center. Cornerstone officials expect to seek final city approval on their plans before summer. The garden center buildling, itself, will be incorporated into a space devoted to housing and retail.

The Former Kmart Site

Just south of Lyndale Plaza, the former Kmart space is being developed by Wellington Management. The company is building a 45,000-square-foot LA Fitness alongside 19,200 square feet of retail space. Wellington also expects to add a restaurant there.

Pizza Luce Comes to Town

After purchasing the building where Bridgeman’s ice cream used to sit, on 66th Street, P{izza Luce will renovate the space for an expected June opening. The new restaurant will feature an outdoor patio, full bar and seating for approximately 140.

Editor's Note: In the original article Wellington Management was spelled incorrectly. This article now reflects the correct spelling, we apologize for the error.

Barry L. February 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Richfield City Residents are expressing concern over the proposed Pillsbury Commons housing development because it is 100% fixed low income housing. There is a lot of great success stories in Richfield. Mixed housing componets works well here. But By MET Council Standards already have 29% Affordable units in Richfield ( Council Memo June 2010). MET Council Formula indicates that 54% of the 5600+ apartments already meet MET Councils guild lines of affordable housing. So the question is two fold (1) Why is Richfield seeking out affordability housing components when we meet the requirement of MET Council? (2) Why are we proceeding with building more affordable housing when the HRA and City Planning have no idea of the inventory and spending $24750 to get an inventory. (see HRA meeting Dec 19,2012), I just wish this statement from city hall could be said of Pillsbury commons project. "We’re feeling really good about the redevelopment that’s occurring there and the regeneration of the whole area,” Barton told the newspaper. “We want vitality there, and it’s coming together nicely.”
EA February 24, 2012 at 08:09 PM
As a couple who bougt are first house in Richfield, but intending to move once we had kids, we're come to greatly appreciate Richfield's smaller size, location convenince and the fact that we can walk to the post office and grocery if we want to take a nice stroll (still hoping a nice sidewalk cafe/deli will move in somewhere). Now that we've grown to a family of four, we need to make the tougt decision of if we stay in Richfield or move. The STEM school is intriging as are the considerable development updates the city is making to revitalize Richfield. Richfield is a little hidden gem right in the city and has so much going for it, but I'm not convinced the Pillsbury Commons development project is in the city's best interest. It's something I'm factoring into our "Do we stay?" decision.
Drew Miller February 24, 2012 at 09:32 PM
@ EA: Thanks for commenting. What would you say are the factors most affecting that decision for you and your family? I agree, it would be nice to have a walkable sidewalk cafe or restaurant in the city. I think the new Pizza Luce may include a sidewalk cafe-like area, but I'm not absolutely sure. If you decided to move, where might you go?
Brie Shultz February 25, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Any idea what will go in the "retail space" and what restaurant will go in at the Kmart site? And when?
Barry L. February 25, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Bree, wouldn't be nice to have a Trader Joes some where in the city? They are putting Trader Joe's with out the alcohol component in the state of Pennsylvania. Ednia has a Whole foods going upon France...
Drew Miller February 25, 2012 at 09:04 PM
@ Brie: From what Karen Barton in Richfield Community Development told me, unless a lease has been established for a "retail space," any names of possible occupants, if they exist at all, are not being released. Firm opening dates currently known were included in the article. Patch will be keeping up on Richfield development--'downtown' and elsewhere--as it progresses.
Barry L. March 01, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I sat there for the Special Council work session and listen, I said WOW at first then come to find out that one building that will be built will be 100% Affordable housing.50 units plus the other buildings with 20% affordable housing, ..Is this another bait and switch? It was once said that the College would be housing students in this building. But know? And How many affordable housing units will there be grouped together? How dose this regenerate this area with concentration of poverty? Question to ask some one.
Barry L. March 01, 2012 at 03:55 PM
As you reported "A natural foods grocery store and Fratallone’s Ace Hardware are among committed tenants to Lyndale Gardens, and developers also anticipate leasing space to a restaurant in the converted building."
Barry L. March 01, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Drew, Here is some interesting facts about Lyndale Gardens, as they are the next target for 100% affordable housing unit. Richfield is now set up for stigmatizatize housing projects asAs Colleen Carey and Beth Pfeiffer from The Cornerstone Group presented an updated concept plan for the redevelopment of the former Lyndale Garden Center site, it came out that instead of a 80/20 mix of market rate/affordable housing for both buildings only one building was going to be mixed income the other was going to be 100% low income funded by Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), the same program that has been responsible for resegregating Twin Cities neighborhoods. Fortunately the nonprofit tenant "Life College" (not an accredited college) http://www.minnesotalifecollege.org/ said that the LIHTC program required that the building be open to anyone that qualified to live their not just their students.
Barry L. March 03, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Drew here is the audio portion to that meeting: http://soundcloud.com/richfieldminnesota/lyndale-gardens-life-college
Richfield Commoners United March 08, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Here is one great letter in the News today Thank you!!! http://richfield.patch.com/articles/concerned-residents-continue-plea-for-city-to-reconsider-pillsbury-commons
Barry L. March 09, 2012 at 05:14 PM
In dealing with Pillsbury Commons there seems to be confusion over the issue of just what "affordable housing" and low income housing are. The use of "low income housing " is not being derogatory. It is important to realize that all low income housing is affordable but not all affordable housing is low income. To prove the point, can a tenant be "affordable" or "low income"? Many of the apartments in Richfield are affordable - that is, they are affordable to people with low incomes but can be rented by people with high incomes. A low income housing development like Pillsbury Commons is housing that is set aside for people who meet low income guidelines. Richfield is very affordable and has quite a bit of affordable housing. Edina is not affordable has no affordable housing which is why it really needs affordable housing so people with low incomes can afford to live their.

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