COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: December 2, 2022
Meetings and Announcements:
The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, December 12th. We will hold a public hearing on and then approve the 2023 Budget. In addition, the Reuter Walton Project is asking for several approvals. See additional notes under Community Development.
- There will be a closed session for the City Manager Annual Performance Review at 5:45. We will have food available at 5 pm.
- At 6:30 pm we will host a reception in the lobby for out-going Council member Knutson in recognition of his service to the community.
New Director starting on Monday December 5th.
Danette Parr will be joining our team on Monday. Watch for the Employee Announcement next week. The Community Development and Senior Management Teams are looking forward to welcoming her to the City.
Reuter Walton’s Proposed Apartment Project – Updated Site Plan and Parking Comparisons
During the Council’s review of the proposed apartment project in Gladstone, staff presented an updated site plan and compared the project’s parking with other cities’ requirements. It was requested that this information be sent to the Council – see links below. This information has also been posted to the project page on the City’s website for the public to review.
In addition, please note that we will not be continuing the public hearing/taking comments on this project at the Council meeting on December 12th. The hearing was closed and input was received from the Planning Commission (held two sessions of comments) and Design Review Board.
Winter Maintenance Season
Winter maintenance season is upon us and it is off to a big start with roughly 8 inches of snow this week. The Public Works crews did a great job plowing the roads on this event. This winter season brings some new challenges for road plowing. We are starting the season with two new employees and one position not yet filled. There is a lot more to plowing then just having the right license. It takes hands on experience and training to develop these skills. Our two new employees are off to a great start.
With these staffing changes winter road maintenance may take longer to complete then in past years. The good news is we have a group of very talented staff that are dedicated to providing high quality services to the public. This can be seen by their performance with this first large snow event of the year.
2022 Construction Season Wrap-up
The snow and cold has officially brought an end to the 2022 construction season. This year has been one of the more challenging ones for construction due to significant shortages in materials such as water main piping and concrete. In addition, staffing shortages throughout the construction industry slowed the process significantly. Even so, the majority of construction work on the 2022 projects was completed this season. Below is a brief summary of each project at the end of the season.
McMenemy Street Improvements
This project has had all of the utility work completed, the curb and gutter installed, and the first layer of pavement installed. Work being carried over until next spring includes the installation of a porous asphalt trail along the east side of McMenemy Street (Larpenteur to County Road B), the restoration of boulevard areas with sod or seed, and the installation of the final layer of pavement on the street.
Cope Avenue Improvements
This project is mostly complete and included the significant narrowing of the street, the replacement of the water main system, and the installation of a sidewalk along the north side of Cope from English Street to White Bear Avenue. All project work is complete except the installation of sod and seed, which will occur in the spring of next year.
Gervais Area Pavement Rehabilitation
This project was completed this construction season and included the replacement of the pavement, spot replacement of deteriorated curbing, replacement of significant portions of the water main system, and the addition of a sidewalk on the north side of 11th Avenue from White Bear to Ariel Street. This was also a joint project with the City of North Saint Paul, as Ariel Street is a border between the two cities. The City will coordinate a walk-through in the spring of next year to address any warranty-type items that may show up over the winter.
Parkway Drive Improvements
This project included the installation of a new storms sewer force main, new water main, installation of new sidewalk, and pavement rehabilitation of Parkway Drive. This is a joint project with Saint Paul Regional Water Services, and Ramsey County Public Works. The work has been completed with the exception of boulevard restoration. Sod and seed will installed in the spring of next year.
Maplewood Mall's new owners putting it up for auction in February
By Nicole Norfleet Star Tribune
December 1, 2022 — 10:28am
Maplewood Mall's owners, Nashville-based Brookwood Capital Advisors, plan to auction it off in early 2023, less than a year after buying it.
Bidding for the mall opens Feb. 13 and closes Feb. 15, according to an online auction listing. Bidding starts at $7.5 million.
This past June, Brookwood purchased the mall from Simon Property Group spinoff Washington Prime Group for $27.5 million. Washington Prime filed for bankruptcy in the midst of the pandemic.
Brookwood worked to bring close to 30 new stores and kiosks to the mall in recent months. They include discount retailer Bin Mayhem, which opened last month, and nontraditional tenants such as a medical academy for those training to become phlebotomy technicians.
The auction listing says the mall was 72% occupied as of Nov. 9.
Last month, Brookwood executives confirmed that the mall was 90% to 95% occupied, including signed leases for tenants that hadn't moved in yet. Only four units were still vacant. This doesn't include the anchor tenants that are owned by separate entities, such as the empty Sears store, which has been vacant since 2018.
The real estate listing also mentions "a proposed 287 apartments covering about 63% of the mall." However, the city has not received an official proposal for an apartment development.
The closest multifamily development project currently being reviewed by the city is for the closed Myth Live music venue directly northwest for the mall, which could possibly be demolished and replaced with about 240 apartments.
While there has been a return to more in-store shopping, many Twin Cities malls this fall still had foot traffic that trailed pre-pandemic years. According to data firm Placer.ai, foot traffic at Maplewood Mall was down 12% in September compared with the same time in 2019.
This is the news for the week. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with any information here or with the upcoming Council meeting.
Enjoy the weekend.
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