*A natural foods grocery store and the possibility of a Fratallone's Ace Hardware store and restaurant were among the prospective tenants discussed for the Lyndale Garden Center site Tuesday night.
*While Council Member Fred Wroge asserted he knew the hardware store chain was committing to the project, Colleen Carey, president of The Cornerstone Group development firm, was unable to confirm the rumor. Carey told Patch and audience members any prospective tenants were working with the firm under a confidentiality agreement and names of tenants will not be released until after a lease had been signed.
Few other details emerged Tuesday night at a special work session conducted jointly by Richfield's City Council, Planning Commission and Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
The Cornerstone Group presented detailed site plans for Lyndale Garden Center, a proposed redevelopment project encompassing three separate properties adjacent to the northwest corner of 64th Street and Lyndale Avenue. The development's signature building incorporates parts of the former Lyndale Garden Center into a refurbished structure that will include both retail and community gathering spaces.
Developers did detail one setback: Financial constraints will likely keep Minnesota Life College from leasing space in the new development. The college is a Richfield-based nonprofit vocational and life skills training program for adults with learning differences.
The news alarmed some in attendance, prompting City Council Member Fred Wroge to ask about Lyndale Garden’s financing going forward.
“Are we talking one hundred percent affordable (housing), so you get tax credits?” he asked.
New housing developments composed entirely of affordable housing have become a sore point of late in Richfield, as seen in the widespread dissatisfaction among city residents regarding the proposed development.
Despite the concerns, Colleen Carey, Cornerstone’s president, said she was still committed to building additional mixed-income housing at Lyndale Gardens.
“At the moment, I’m not proposing we change that,” she said, adding her belief that a mixed-income development would be better for everyone involved.
The company has successfully acquired all three properties and will be preparing to submit final development plans to the city in the coming months. Financing for portions of the project—including possible funding from the Met Council, along with certain Hennepin County programs—remains unclear.
Residents interested in more details from the developer can read The Cornerstone Group's blog.
Editor's Note: Details were added to this story for clarification and are marked with an asterisk (*).