City hears plans for 74-lot housing addition, two-phase medical office building
Two significant development projects are dotting the agendas of the city’s boards.
The Forest Lake Planning Commission on May 14 heard proposals from a developer looking to build 74 homes in the Headwaters neighborhood and from former Mayor Stev Stegner, who is planning a two-phase medical office project on Centennial Drive.
The following week, Stegner and his project were in front of the City Council, which approved a redevelopment term sheet outlying city assistance for the project using tax increment financing.
The Centennial Professional Building would be located at 335 Centennial Drive SW, on land now occupied by two single-family residences. The two-story, 17,250-square-foot structure would be built from this August to August 2015.
In a project summary to the city, Stegner said the multi-tenant building would house about 35 employees. A potential second phase would include 10,000-15,000 square feet of medical office and retail space along Highway 61.
The terms approved by the council contemplate the use of tax increment financing to fund $133,220 in site improvements for the first phase. A public hearing on the creation of the TIF district will be held at the council’s June 23 meeting.
The TIF district would generate funds for the city by locking in the current tax rates paid to the county and school district over the life of the district. As property values inside the district increase due to the project, the city would capture all of the associated tax revenue increase. The district would expire when the city recaptures the amount it provided the developer to help bring about the project.
To qualify for TIF assistance, it must be shown that but for assistance from the city, a project would not be reasonably expected to occur in the near future.
The Planning Commission approved two variances and conducted a site plan review, making the project the first to go through the board for such approvals since the City Council passed such duties on to the Planning Commission this spring. Previously, the commission made recommendations to the council.
On the residential front, an Eden Prairie developer has big plans for Headwaters Eighth Addition south of Highway 97.
The Excelsior Group hopes to build 74 homes west of Fenway Avenue and south of 200th Street. The 40-acre addition, adjacent to Lakes International Language Academy’s new campus under construction, would contain 45 single-family homes and 29 detached townhouses.
The addition encompasses the final chunk of residential land remaining in the Headwaters Development the council approved in 2005 and scaled back in 2012. Though pitched by Fenway Investments and Pratt Development of Vadnais Heights, parts of Headwaters were sold to other developers as demand for new housing dried up. Additions created in recent years are still subject to the original Headwaters neighborhood plan.
The Planning Commission tabled a preliminary plat and planned unit development for the project to allow for more discussion about the proposed extensions of Headwaters Parkway and Farnham Avenue. The matter will again go before the Planning Commission June 11. City Council approval will also be required.
Grading would begin as soon as the project is approved in order to time land development with the charter school’s construction.