Newspaper article

Minneapolis Council Committee Advances Izzy's Facility, Derails Social Services Center Plan

Newspaper article

Minneapolis Council Committee Advances Izzy's Facility, Derails Social Services Center Plan

Article excerpt

It was a busy and productive day Tuesday when the Minneapolis City Council's Community Development Committee plowed through 10 public hearings.

In the process, committee members nixed a social services facility, approved an ice cream factory and finally found a buyer for the Grain Belt Beer office building.

Here's a recap:

The West Broadway Hub Project

The Hub Project was seen by Hennepin County as a potential home for one of six social service centers that would move the bulk of services out of downtown Minneapolis and into communities across the county.

What they found out instead was than many who came to the hearing wanted commercial development on West Broadway and a chance to spend their money in their own neighborhood.

The project would have been developed by the Ackerberg Group with Hennepin County as the tenant in a 30,000-square-foot building housing 200 county workers.

"It is not an issue of social services," said Roberta Englund, executive director of the Folwell and Webber Camden neighborhood association, who said her group was ready to petition for an environmental assessment of the project.

Most of the land for the Hub Project is vacant or contains buildings that need repair, according to the staff assessment.

"Two-thirds of this neighborhood has to come downtown for social services," said J. Michael Noonan, manager of the Real Estate Division of Hennepin County. Noonan said he spent a year looking for a large-enough site on the Near North Side and that the West Broadway site was the only parcel that could handle the project.

Still, the call for more commercial development was strong. One resident said he wants a Chipotle and Anytime Fitness in his neighborhood because they would attract more businesses and more potential homebuyers. Council members agreed.

"We want to make sure the people who live in this location can spend their money in this location," said committee chair Lisa Goodman, who also cited the lack of consensus from community members as a real problem for moving ahead with the project. The committee denied approval of the plans.

Izzy's Ice Cream

Everyone might like ice cream, but not everyone wants an ice cream factory across street from their loft apartment. This is the story of one vacant lot and two development plans.

In September 2010, Shamrock Development offered the city $350,000 for 9,730 square feet of vacant land adjacent to property it already owned where it planned to build 150 residential units. The company wanted to use the additional land for a driveway and green space. It made an offer $87,850 below the city's asking price of $437,850.

Three months later, Shamrock made what it labeled its "Final Offer to Purchase" and again offered $350,000 for the land. The city rejected that offer, too.

Six months later, along came the people from Izzy's Ice Cream who had noticed a "for sale" sign on the property, which fronts on Second Street with a view of the Guthrie Theater and Gold Medal Park. …

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