by Ben Ganje
on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 10:41pm.
Plans are under way for a future Trader Joe's to unfold in the Uptown area along Lyndale and 27th St in the coming months. The only thing stopping the Minneapolis real estate development taking place are city and neighborhood approvals.
The Proposal A new 14,000 square foot Trader Joe’s grocery and liquor store on the corner of 27th Street and Lyndale Avenue in the Wedge area of Minneapolis. This is just outside of Lyn-Lake and the core of Uptown. Currently the site is home to four buildings with two separate owners.
One owner has been in the neighborhood since the mid 60s, the Geurts family. They own the Sunnyside Up Cafe/Coin Laundry building, the building that’s home to a tee-shirt shop and the building that’s home to Planet Soccer. They feel strongly about creating a legacy for their kids and want to retain ownership of the land.
The other owner is Art Materials, which is planning on moving to a nearby site so they have more parking. They have been looking for some time at moving out of their current space.
The four buildings will all be demolished. None were believed to be historic, though a city review is in process.
The parking lot would have 52 parking stalls, two points of ingress and egress, and large drive aisles in part because large delivery trucks must navigate through the parking lot per city code. TOLD development believes that the parking will work better than how St. Louis Park did at first because in St. Louis Park, the demand for the store was far greater than what it could handle because it was such a destination. Trader Joe’s wants to be a neighborhood store and so it’s believed that by continuing to expand into Bloomington and Uptown/Lyn-Lake/Wedge, that they will better serve all of their customers by better distributing their customer base.
The 14,000 square foot store is comparable in size to others in the Twin Cities, where stores range from 13,000 square feet in St. Louis Park to 16,000 square feet in Hopkins, to 14,000 square feet in St. Paul.
The liquor and grocery store components would be accessed off of a shared vestibule on the southeast corner of the building, adjacent the parking lot. Windows facing the parking lot and along Lyndale would provide some transparency between the building and the outside. Exterior materials include brick, glass, an ornamental metals. It was said that the side facing 27th Street would have a similar look to the Lake Street elevation.
Why this site
TOLD developers confirmed that this site was selected because of (archaic) liquor store licensing restrictions that require a 2,000′ buffer between liquor stores, a 300′ buffer between churches and liquor stores, and being adjacent 5 acres of commercial property that’s zoned C2 commercial space. Earlier attempts, to locate the Trader Joe’s down the block from Hum’s Liquor between 22nd Street and 24th Street, failed after there seemed to be little support to get the State to essentially override the City’s distance requirements. Other sites that were considered ultimately were not going to meet these requirements.
This site would have to be rezoned to allow a liquor store, a request that will be critically analyzed by Council Member Meg Tuthill and others. Tuthill’s staff said that she wouldn’t comment on quasi-judicial issues (variances, conditional use permits, site plan approvals, etc) but would comment on legislative issues (rezonings) by saying that the property is not currently zoned C2 and that a rezoning study was recently conducted for this area and didn’t suggest rezoning the property. Therefore any consideration of a rezoning should address what has changed between then and now that would reach a different conclusion.
Stay tuned for more details on this exciting development in Uptown! Search Minneapolis condos at Downtown Resource Group.