Pillsbury Commons Project Effectively ‘Dead’

City denies the sale of two additional parcels, however, the developer can still choose to close on the land held by an option agreement.

Pillsbury Commons as it was most recently proposed is now, for lack of a better term, dead.

The Richfield City Council rejected developer Ron Clark Construction & Design’s counter-offer to purchase two additional parcels of city-owned land at a meeting Tuesday night. Without the additional pieces of land to aid in meeting housing density requirements, the proposal as it sits “won’t work,” according to .

However, the former Richfield Public Works storage facility, which is located south of the other two parcels, is still held by an option agreement. The city entered into the agreement about two years ago and is still required to sell the property to the developer if he still wishes to purchase it. According to , the closing date would be June 30.

At this point, it is not clear what the developer will do.

The Decision

Following a closed session, motioned to reject the proposal, citing a lack of a formal housing policy, inconsistency with the Corridor Housing Initiative density guidelines, and the desire to wait until the property value appreciates, and noted other housing models are more feasible. All Goettel's reasons were also outlined in the agenda as potential deal-breakers.

However, said she would not support the motion.

“The benefit of this project is providing two- and three-bedroom units,” she said. “I think we do need upscale housing and I certainly think that we need upscale rental housing … the project [proposal] did provide that.”

agreed that more upscale housing was needed, however, a 100 percent affordable housing complex should not be in Richfield.

“I really am adamantly looking [to create] more upscale [housing], mixed with affordable housing or workforce housing, or whatever you want to call it,” Wroge said. “I think we need to bring people here with disposable incomes.”

He also stated that this could be an opportunity to get existing apartment complex owners to convert their plethora of one-bedroom units into two- and three-bedroom units.

Of course, never at a loss for words, Wroge went on to say he had reviewed documents that showed people of color and single heads of household would be targeted as tenants, which did not sit well.

“If people are in need of housing, it shouldn’t matter what color they are or if they are married or single,” he said. “That was one of the biggest things that I just don’t get.”

Richfield Patch will update readers as more information on the developer’s intentions with the city garage property becomes available.


Visit our Pillsbury Commons topic page for more articles on the project.

Mike McLean June 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
“If people are in need of housing, it shouldn’t matter what color they are or if they are married or single,” he said. “That was one of the biggest things that I just don’t get.” - very well stated Fred. It seems that too often government is always trying to "Label" people.
Richfield Commoners United June 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
We want to thank the Mayor, Pat, Fred,, And Tom For having the forthright, vision and leadership on Richfield future. Thank You citizens for your support.
Amy Utley June 13, 2012 at 03:52 PM
THANK YOU, council, for thinking of Richfield's future! Also, as a property manager who has attended MANY fair housing classes, I do not understand how they have been able to even say the things they have said! We cannot even ask potential residents where they are from in casual conversation. Protected classes - race or color, creed or nationality, sex, sexuality, familial status, religion. Seems to me that both "people of color" and "single heads of household" present pretty serious violations. Thank you Mr. Wroge for calling this to everyone's attention! Thanks again for this step you have taken, Mayor, Pat, Fred and Tom!
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I'm interested to see what Ron Clark will decide to do with the property that is optioned. The way I see it, he has a few options. 1) He could buy it and sit on it; 2) He could buy it, clean it up and resell it; 3) Walk away altogether. I'm hoping to chat with him soon.
Dan Warnest June 13, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Caitlin, Ron Clark ( well, a company owned by him ) already owns the single family residential lot at 7600 Pillsbury. He bought it in Feb '08 for 208k. You can go to: http://www16.co.hennepin.mn.us/pins/addrsrch.jsp I doubt he will walk away completely from this. Dan
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Hi Dan, that is not how I understand it. Hmmm. The city attorney specifically said if he still wishes to buy the property that the closing would happen June 30. I think some earnest money may have been put down. I'll double check.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Also, there were single-family home plots that I believe he purchased, so that could be it. Checking.
Dan Warnest June 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
My last statement is a fact. The residential house at 7600 Pillsbury is owned by "Richfield Properties LLC" which has the same address as Ron Clark Construction. The date of closing was 2/28/08 with a purchase price of $208,000. I'm assuming he has a rental permit with the City of Richfield correct? The property that he still has the option to close on by Jume 30th is south of this address.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Oh my. We're talking about the same thing. I missed the "residential" part in you first comment. Sorry about that. Should be interesting to see what happens in the future!
Richfield Commoners United June 13, 2012 at 08:05 PM
So Ron Clark has a rental Property and he has not paid rental Lic either? Let's see who will call and say why is Ron Clark getting things for free? http://www16.co.hennepin.mn.us/pins/addrresult.jsp Proerty ID#34-028-24-34-0049 Address:7600 PILLSBURY AVE S Taxpayer Name & Address: RICHFIELD PROPERTIES LLC, 7500 78TH ST W, EDINA MN 55439 Page 20 of 26...HUMMM do not see Ron Clark paying rental fee? WHY? http://www.cityofrichfield.org/permits/docs/Richfield___List_of_Rental_Properties.pdf
Richfield Commoners United June 13, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Steven L. Devich City Manager City of Richfield 612-861-9702
Dan Warnest June 13, 2012 at 09:29 PM
We should first know who lives in the home. I'm sure Ron doesn't as it is classified non-homestead with the county. Hmmmmm
Richfield Commoners United June 14, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Yea Ron Clark is using this house as a cabin in the wild to get away from his EDINA estate...
David Haines June 14, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Does non-homestead = rental? I don't live on the block so I don't know if the house is vacant or not. If he is renting it out he should be following the rules. But if he is not, is he doing anything wrong?
Barry L. June 14, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Some one lives there, he is seen by everyone
Dan Warnest June 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I forwarded some information to Natalie Stanton at the city. If anyone cares to know how this turns out, you can email me at dgwarnest@cbburnet.com and I will keep in touch with you.
Richfield Commoners United June 14, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Dan Share the information on line...
Dan Warnest June 15, 2012 at 01:21 PM
"Dan: I have mailed a letter to Richfield Properties and informed them of the ordinance. I am awaiting their reply. Please feel free to contact me in a few weeks in reference to this issue and I will update you. Have a great day! Natalie Stanton"
Joe Hoover June 15, 2012 at 01:53 PM
A official announcement for a public hearing for the consideration of the adoption of the Pillsbury Commons TIF Plan was just published in the most recent edition of the Sun Current. Whether Ron Clark still intends to go through with the TIF financing or it just was to late to get pulled from getting published remains to be seen.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) June 15, 2012 at 02:17 PM
It is likely that it was already set to publish. The paper is distributed Thursday, and printing likely begins the Tuesday before.
Barry L. June 16, 2012 at 07:56 PM
How can City staff allow this one to happen? We can not keep an eye on a high profile Developer who is renting a house sine 2008 on the very same site he wanted to build on. I do hope they will collect back rental fee's. WHAT A GUY Ron Clark is....
Barry L. June 18, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Please come tonight to see what happens, and to see if Ron Clark is in attendance.
Dan Warnest July 10, 2012 at 08:46 PM
"The owner turned around the application and payment within the week it was mailed out." That is the response I got from the city.
Dan Warnest July 16, 2012 at 07:40 PM
"Ron Clark paid his rental license within 10 days of being made aware of the requirement to do so. The City Code/Ordinances do not have any provision for collecting fees for previously unlicensed properties in the case where there is no record of the property owner being notified of the need to do so." He had to be made aware there is a rental license requirement? Really?


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