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Seeking letters of interest for 325 Blake Road development

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), as owner, and the City of Hopkins (City), as partner, are seeking a creative, experienced developer to partner with on restoration and redevelopment of a 17-acre site located at 325 Blake Road (“site”) in Hopkins (see Exhibit A for site map). 

Qualified developers are encouraged to submit a Letter of Interest detailing their relevant experience no later than January 29, 2021, at 4:30 p.m.

The Site

The site poses an opportunity for a transformational redevelopment and is positioned to deliver a variety of environmental, social, and economic benefits. The site is nestled between regionally significant features on all sides: the Southwest LRT (SWLRT) and Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail to the south, a restored Minnehaha Creek and associated network of green space (the Minnehaha Creek Greenway) to the north and east, and the recently reconstructed Blake Road to the west. The SWLRT Blake Road Station platform is located across Blake Road from the site’s southwest corner. In addition to its proximity to the multimodal transportation network, the site is conveniently located close to Excelsior Boulevard and Highways 7 and 169.  Knollwood Mall is less than 0.5 mile north of the site.

MCWD purchased the site, then a cold storage warehouse, in 2011 in order to restore and enhance the property’s 1,000 feet of Minnehaha Creek frontage, treat regional stormwater that was degrading the creek, and make an important connection in the Minnehaha Creek Greenway, a stretch of more than 50 acres of continuous green space and trails along Minnehaha Creek through the cities of Hopkins and St. Louis Park. 

Recognizing the regional significance of the site’s location, MCWD formally entered into partnership with the City of Hopkins to pursue development on the remainder of the site that integrates with the adjacent natural, transit, and community assets.

Of the 17-acre site, up to 12-acres are available for transformation into a new transit-oriented, mixed-use neighborhood. The remaining approximate five acres will be owned by MCWD and used to treat over 260 acres of regional stormwater from three surrounding communities (Edina, Hopkins and St. Louis Park), restore and enhance over 1,000 feet of Minnehaha Creek frontage, and connect the Minnehaha Creek Greenway system.

The Opportunity

The property offers a unique opportunity for mixed-use, transit-oriented development within a brief walk of a variety of amenities, transit connections and green space. 

The site has been prepared for development with several key investments by MCWD and the City of Hopkins including:

  • Decommissioning and demolition of the Cold Storage facility;
  • Environmental investigations (Phase I and Phase II) and environmental clean-up;
  • Investment in the expansion of Cottageville Park, directly to the north of the site;
  • Complete reconstruction of Blake Road including the addition of pedestrian and bike infrastructure. 

Guiding Principles for Redevelopment of the Site

The MCWD and the City have adopted a shared development vision and eight guiding principles for redevelopment of the site (see Exhibit B for additional detail).

In addition, there is a set of development parameters to further guide redevelopment (see Exhibit C).

Next steps

  1. Submit Letter of Interest: Interested developers should submit a Letter of Interest no later than January 29, 2021, according to the instructions below

  2. Review: The partners will review the Letters of Interest and identify firms with whom to continue discussions

  3. Roundtable meetings: The partners intend to invite select developers to meet further to discuss the project goals, vision, and development parameters. These roundtable meetings provide an opportunity to enhance the developers’ understanding of the shared vision for the site and discuss the developers’ preliminary vision for the development based on their experience, their understanding of the shared vision, and market conditions

  4. Selecting RFP Participants: Based on the roundtable discussions, the partners intend to invite a short list of developers to respond to a Request for Proposals issued by MCWD and the City. Only the invited firms will be eligible to respond to the RFP. 
         
  5. Selection: Following review and analysis of the proposals, the MCWD Board of Managers and Hopkins City Council will likely select a master development partner by mid-June 2021

Site Visit

Due to present site conditions, if your team is interested in visiting the site prior to your submission, please notify Michael Hayman, who will send a brief release waiver for access.

Letter of Interest Information

Interested developers should submit a Letter of Interest with the information listed below no later than January 29, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

  1. Developer Information:
    1. The developer’s name and mailing address, and the name, phone number and e-mail address of the person who will serve as the principal contact for the developer.

  2. Relevant Experience:
    1. The developer’s experience in working on similar developments, including location, type of development, total development costs of the development, funding sources, status of development and information about any continued financial or operating interest in each.

    2. List of developments completed in the last five years, over and above those described above (provide site plans or elevations/renderings as desired).

The staff of the MCWD and City will review the Letters of Interest and recommend to their respective governing bodies the developers who should be invited to roundtable meetings to further explore development interest and possible public/private partnership. 

We look forward to hearing from you.  Please e-mail your Letter of Interest, including supporting information, in Microsoft compatible or PDF format to mhayman@minnehahacreek.org and kelverum@hopkinsmn.com no later 4:30 pm on Friday, January 29, 2021. The materials must be printable on standard 8 ½” X 11” paper. 

If you have questions, please contact Michael Hayman, MCWD Project Planning Manager. Questions must be received no later than January 15, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.  Answers to questions will be posted on the MCWD website no later than January 20, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.