The Minneapolis suburb of Richfield will soon see its first new apartment building in the last two decades thanks to the efforts of Michael Development and St. Croix Real Estate.
The two companies teamed up to form Woodlake Richfield Apartments, the company that will develop and manage Lyndale Plaza, a new 94-unit apartment development at 6401 N. Lyndale Ave., the heart of Richfield.
The two companies held a ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 19 to celebrate the construction of the new apartment complex. Officials with St. Croix and Michael Development hope to begin moving renters into their new apartments by June of next year.
To Michael Swenson, owner of Michael Development, Lyndale Plaza represents an opportunity to inject some new life in what was previously an underperforming location. The same spot that will soon host the apartment complex recently served as the location for a struggling shopping center that Swenson described as “tired.”
“That area of Richfield was in need of something new,” Swenson said. “I owned that shopping center for 20 years. It was struggling. When the economy took a dip, that certainly took a toll on all retail centers. This one was especially struggling. It wasn’t making any money. One of the better fixes was to make the property into an apartment complex.”
The multi-family market, of course, is doing well today. And the developers of Lyndale Plaza decided to take advantage of this.
“Maybe some people can’t get mortgages to purchase a home. Maybe others are a little skittish about owning a home. They don’t know what’s going to happen with the housing market as we move forward,” Swenson said. “Apartments have certainly become an attractive alternative to the housing market.”
The four-story apartment building includes a transit plaza that connects commuters to downtown Minneapolis by express bus service. The architects on this project, Collage Architects, sought a pedestrian- and public-tranportation-friendly design. To that end, they included new pedestrian lighting, benches and a landscaped green space fronting Lyndale Avenue.
Most of the resident parking is located in an underground parking lot. This, Swenson said, alleviated the concerns of neighbors who were worried that apartment dwellers would clog side streets with their cars.
Lyndale Plaza will include 94 market-rate apartments, with 19 of these units reserved for households at 50 percent of the area’s median income. Interiors will feature 9-foot ceilings Energy Star appliances, in-unit washers and dryers, granite counter tops and high-quality floor finishes.
During the Oct. 19 groundbreaking, Terry McNellis, one of the principals, along with his wife, Mary, of St. Croix Real Estate, said that the city of Richfield deserved praise for the role it played in bringing this project to its borders.
The city approved the issuing of tax-exempt revenue bonds and tax increment financing to help make the project a reality, McNellis said.
“The city of Richfield was instrumental in this redevelopment project,” McNellis said during the ground-breaking ceremony.
— Dan Rafter