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325 Blake Road Redevelopment: Creating Balance between the Built and Natural Environment

June 20, 2018

Aerial of 325 Blake RoadThe cornerstone of Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s (MCWD) work is recognizing that the built and natural environments, in balance, create value and enjoyment for our residents. In all our work, we keep this philosophy in mind to ensure our projects not only improve water quality, but also improve the quality of life in our communities.

In that vein, we are excited to announce that the redevelopment of 325 Blake Road in Hopkins has reached a major milestone. After an intensive partnership effort to evaluate master developer applications and interview candidates the MCWD Board of Managers selected Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson as the master developer for the project.

325 Blake Road was purchased by MCWD in 2011 as a key piece of the Minnehaha Creek Greenway. The Greenway will provide 50 acres of a contiguous corridor of restored creek and habitat through St. Louis Park and Hopkins while also providing more opportunities for the public to view and access Minnehaha Creek while improving water quality. 325 Blake Road is adjacent to the creek, Cottageville Park, and the proposed Green Line Extension light rail station at Blake Road.

Of the site’s 17 acres, MCWD will retain a portion (approximately 4 acres) to treat polluted stormwater that flows into the creek from 260 acres of surrounding area and to restore more than 1,000 feet of creek frontage. The remaining portion of the site (approximately 13 acres) will be sold to transform the rest of the industrial site into a transit-oriented neighborhood.

Our vision for the site, which was informed by a robust community engagement process, encourages a sustainable development that features Minnehaha Creek, an open design that allows public access to the creek and adjoining Greenway including Cottageville Park, transit-oriented elements including parking, and mixed-income housing. The master developer will work closely with the project partners, including the community, to refine the vision and maximize opportunities for the site.

The process for selecting a master developer was a partnership effort that included representatives from MCWD; the cities of Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Edina; Hennepin County and the Blake Road Collaborative. Together, they identified the interview process to include themes of integration of affordable housing, site infrastructure, community spaces, community engagement, and the ability to perform.

After interviewing the top three master developer applicants, the Joint Working Group determined that Kraus-Anderson stood out as the preferred candidate based on their vision, site use, and partnership and leadership cohesion.

We are looking forward to starting work on this project, which will begin with the demolition of the Hopkins Cold Storage facility later this year. Depending on demolition progress, construction may begin as early as 2019. These activities will coincide with the reconstruction of Blake Road to minimize disruption to the community.

By working with our partners to find opportunities to restore the curves to Minnehaha Creek and treat regional stormwater in Hopkins and St. Louis Park, we’ll create lasting habitat and water quality improvements that ripple downstream. Making it easier for people to access and enjoy the creek, creates valuable green space where people can connect with nature, relax, and play.

More information on the 325 Blake Road Redevelopment.