The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District has voted to authorize a $14.95 million purchase of an industrial building in Hopkins that includes a key 1,000-foot section of shoreline in one of the creek's most degraded sections.
The district is buying the Hopkins Cold Storage building from Blake Road Partners LLC, an entity controlled by Bloomington-based Stewart Lawrence Group. The vote was held Thursday night.
The buildings are being sold as is, with existing leases and tenants in place. Deli Express is the tenant with the most time left on its lease -- about three years left on a deal it signed in 2010.
The district, which plans to use bond proceeds to pay for the 17-acre property, intends to manage the building as is for now, but eventually raze the building and attract a new development to the site in partnership with the city, according to Telly Mamayek, communications director for the watershed district.
It would then restore about 1,000 feet of shoreline in one of the 22-mile creek's most degraded sections. That area would become a natural buffer to clean runoff before it enters the creek and it would open up the site for future redevelopment that compliments the creek, rather than hides it, Mamayek said.
"We initially pursued an easement (with Stewart Lawrence) which would have allowed them to keep the building there. But the way the building sits on the land and how they use the building, that was not possible because there are loading docks on the back abutting the creek," she said.
Stew Stender and Larry Pobuda, owners of Stewart Lawrence Group, couldn't be reached for comment. The pair bought the buidling in 2007 for $6.5 million with plans to redevelop the site that never came together.
The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District board is made up of seven members who are appointed by the Hennepin County Commission and Carver County Commission.
This is part of a larger restoration of the creek in the urban core of Hopkins and St. Louis Park, where the creek has been negatively impacted by development over the years and turned into basically a drainage ditch," Mamayek said. "The restoration goes all the way from Highway 169 to Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, and this is one major piece in that whole project."
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