More High Density Housing in Golden Valley

By Andrew Richter

Golden Valley Apartments

Nice to see Golden Valley pushing the Agenda 21 inspired high density housing!

With an ever-growing population, Golden Valley continues to evolve. Whether it be new housing or businesses, it seems the city is always welcoming redevelopment.

Let me stop this article right here: Where is the population increase? Golden Valley had 24,246 people in 1970. In 2010 they had 20,371! Where is this “ever growing population?”

On March 10, Physical Development Director Marc Nevinski provided an update to city council on three large redevelopments.

Physical Development Director? What is this; gym class?

Golden Villas

In September 2014, the council reviewed a proposal for a seven-level market rate apartment building at 9130 and 9220 Olson Memorial Highway to be known as Golden Villas. The 162-unit facility would include six stories of living with one level of underground parking. The project would also include public improvements such as new sidewalks and street lighting.

The council was thrilled to see a new proposal on a property that had formerly been planned for another apartment complex but questioned the financial stability of the applicant.

Years ago the council approved the Tiburon Apartments at that site but the project fell through leaving the lot vacant. “We feel really good about our financing,” said William Stoddard, the applicant, at the Sept. 16 meeting. Due to a plan to create a tax increment financing district and Stoddard’s confidence in his financing, the council provided approval of the project. Councilmembers were hopeful that the new proposal would move forward smoothly.

Don’t worry, it will be a unanimous vote like everything else in Golden Valley.

At that meeting, Stoddard said he had a developer waiting to begin site plans and expected to break ground this summer. Currently, city staff is working with the developer to negotiate a development agreement that allows the public improvements to be funded first followed by assistance with the project. The developer has already received preliminary planned unit development approval and a tax increment financing district has been established but the developer must enter a development agreement with the Housing & Redevelopment Authority.

“I think it’s anybody’s guess whether it’s going to move forward,” Nevinski said. “They’re still trying to get their finances in line.” For now, staff awaits an application for final approval.

Yippy! Here is what DFL political insider Mayor Shep “Boy Wonder” Harris had to say:

“I feel like we’ve been patient with these (redevelopment projects),” said Mayor Shep Harris. “If this is a priority for us, and it has been for us, I’d like to see a greater result. Are we satisfied with the pace?”

That’s right, you’d like to see high density housing even faster!

City Manager Tom Burt responded saying the current speed of the project is pretty standard. “Redevelopment is incredibly slow,” he said. He encouraged the council to be patient for now as the city has seen several proposals for this property come and go.

Cornerstone Creek

In close proximity to the Golden Villas project lies another future development location. Jewish Housing and Programming, a Minnetonka-based organization aiming to provide housing for adults with developmental disabilities, first approached the council with its plan February 2014.

Jewish housing!!! Doesn’t that discriminate against Muslims or gays or something?

The organization plans to construct a 45-unit apartment complex at 9300 and 9310 Golden Valley Road. The facility would give its residents independence while also providing a support system if needed. Additional programming will be made available for the Jewish community and common spaces may be utilized by the public.

Yet another apartment complex!

For the $12 million project, the organization planned to utilize roughly $6 million in donations by raising $3 million and receiving a $3 million match. The additional $6 million would come from tax credit equity proceeds, county funds, a $198,000 Community Development Block Grant and the potential funds from Golden Valley by utilizing tax increment financing.

In other words, this is partially subsidized by the taxpayers.

As anticipated, the organization plans to break ground this summer and hopes to open its doors fall 2016. “We’re just waiting for them to say they’re ready to go,” Nevinski said.

Oh my God this is so exciting! How can I get any sleep after reading this!

Liberty Crossing

In preparation of an upcoming proposal, city council approved the reguiding of several lots at the southeast corner of Medicine Lake Road and Winnetka Ave. The Golden Valley VFW, a restaurant, car wash and Sifco building were all reguided from commercial or light industrial to high density in December 2014.

All right! More high density!

Since then, the developer has acquired the Sifco building and has contracts on the other three properties. The proposal, known as Liberty Crossing, includes the construction of 60 rental townhomes and a 180-unit apartment complex. The site requires a great deal of storm water improvements as this area often floods from the nearby DeCola Ponds.

According to Nevinski, staff and the developer have been studying options for adding flood storage using underground holding tanks. Staff also hopes to complete some work on Rhode Island Ave. to help move flood water away from the site. “It seems to be a pretty good technology to deal with our storage issues,” Nevinski said.

Currently, a study is underway to determine if a tax increment financing district can be created to fund flood storage and move flood water away from the site. In addition, contaminated soils were discovered on site so staff is working with Hennepin County, Barr Engineering and the developer to address the problem.

No other details about the project have been publicized at this time. Although the council finds the planning phases of development to be a slow process, it looks forward to seeing the end products and enhancing the community.

Don’t you just want to move to Golden Valley?? If anything you should want to move there just to vote out this mayor and council