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HRA, Richfield City Council Receive Update on Kmart Site Plans

The two groups heard a a development proposal at a special work session Tuesday night.

In a special work session prior to Tuesday's regular Richfield City Council meeting, members of both the council and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority heard an updated proposal from Steve Wellington, Jr., president of Wellington Management, Inc., regarding the development of the currently vacant property located at 66th Street and Lyndale Avenue.

Known to many Richfield residents as the former Kmart property, the downtown real estate stood vacant for approximately eighteen months before the city council in April 2011.

Wellington reported that his company had signed an agreement to purchase the property two months ago, and has been moving to fill it with prospective tenants. LA Fitness is already committed to the site, while Wellington reported that his company was also close to a deal with Fratallone's Ace Hardware.

"[LA Fitness] is anxious to be here," he told those in attendance.

Wellington estimated that his company had signed or was close to signing letters of intent with stores that would occupy approximately half of the redevelopment's retail space.

"[In addition], I'd say we're at the stage of serious negotiations for about another quarter of the [retail] space as well," he said.

Several officials at the work session expressed fears about inadequate parking at the redeveloped property.

Also, it was unclear how the redevelopment would deal with a "parcel" of green space located at the corner of 66th Street and Lyndale Avenue, land the redevelopment's plans currently subsume. It's possible the city would simply deed the property to Wellington Management Inc. should the redevelopment move forward.

While Wellington explained that his firm's plans also include a rental property designed to house a restaurant, it's unclear how attractive the space would be to either a chain or independent restaurant.

Regardless of the concerns, Wellington said he was pleased with the work session.

"It's always good to visit with public officials in Richfield," he said. "They've always been very helpful."

In other business, the city council held an additional work session to address the possibility of building a community bandshell in Richfield. Potential locations under consideration are the Lyndale Garden Center, currently being redeveloped by The Cornerstone Group, as well as (where the bandshell would be built just southeast of of the ).

The council also discussed the possibility of signing a contract with a single garbage collection service provider for Richfield. While designating one trash collector for the entire city would potentially improve public safety and lessen the impact heavy trash collection trucks have on paved roads, Council Member Fred Wroge in particular expressed reservations about the potentially negative effect such a monopoly might have on cost savings in the city.

Leslie Hughes June 29, 2011 at 10:49 PM
I would like something that serves healthy, organic, real food. Something like Common Roots in Mpls or French Meadow. Simpler food not real expensive. Casual.
Kevin Klos June 30, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Any idea if that sculpture on the corner of 66th and Lyndale is considered "Kmart" property or city property?
EA June 30, 2011 at 08:27 PM
I would like a more casual, foot-traffic friendly place like a cafe/deli - could be like French meadow mentioned above (although I'll pass on organic/local if it means I can't afford to eat there regularly b/c of cost) or a Camille's Sidewalk Cafe or Corner Bakery. Not another sandwich place (i.e. Potbelly, quiznos, subway, jimmy johns), Chipotle, big restaurant nor fast food. I often do walking errands around Richfield with my kids to the post office, grocery, etc, and there is not a foot traffic cafe that offers breakfast/lunch/dinner options with outdoor seat yourself tables in this area. There are some options in south Richfield, but they don't lend itself to the foot traffic like the area between the Post Office, Richfield Lake and Nicollet. I was hoping when Quiznos left that a better cafe would have gone in there on Lyndale, but it didn't. That would be a great area for a sidewalk cafe, too.
Barry L. March 02, 2012 at 03:24 PM
It would be nice to have a place like the Bad Waitress, or spy house coffee or a uptown dinner. These places above operate in Whitter Neighbor Hood in Minneapolis or Uptown area. Mybe the city staff should go up and market to these types of Minnesota based, local eatery's
Caitlin Burgess March 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
What's Bad Waitress? Never heard of it. Is it one of the those joints where the staff is rude and pokes fun in the name of fun?

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