Brooklyn Park City Council considers development at Candlewood, West Broadway

The Brooklyn Park City Council and Planning Commission discussed possible development at a foreclosed 15-acre

Developers have approached the city with questions regarding city preferences for future development. (Submitted graphic)
Developers have approached the city with questions regarding city preferences for future development. (Submitted graphic)

property at Candlewood Drive and West Broadway.
The property is along the Blue Line LRT extension, and the best possible use and future monetary value remain uncertain. The site will be in the Brooklyn Boulevard station area.
The bank that owns the foreclosed property has begun marketing the land for sale, and developers have approached the city with questions regarding city preferences, said Erik Hansen, economic development and housing director.
The site is on the market for $2.8 million, or $4.50 per square foot. It is zoned R-5 multiple family residential.
While the site could be rezoned for commercial use, planning director Cindy Sherman said the site is better suited for residential use.
Development authority president and Mayor Jeff Lunde said developers would likely ask the city to rezone or offer other financial incentives, as its current zoning scheme is not likely to result in high profit margins.
“The way its zoned does lead us down a path where they’re going to have to ask for something to make it [work] financially, even though they could make it work structurally and code and all those kind of things,” he said. “The fact is that won’t lead to a dollar of profit, without us either putting in something or rezoning.”
The parcel was formerly a par-3 golf course, Hansen said. Stormwater needs and soil conditions at the site have not been fully researched, he said.
Hansen added that developers have asked if the city would be open to a development with 100 percent affordable housing units on the site.
Economic Development commissioners said they would not want to see a development with 100 percent affordable housing development on the site.
“Our market often has market rate rents that are lower than affordable rents in other places,” said Kim Berggren, director of community development and executive director of the Brooklyn Park’s Economic Development Authority.
“When you see that market rate rent being lower than affordable, developers will come in and want to push [affordable housing], because they can get other funding sources,” Hansen said. “You’ll see that in areas of poverty, that developers come in with 100 percent affordable,” he said.
To generally be classified as affordable housing and be eligible for tax credits, an occupant making 60 percent of the area median income must spend no more than 30 percent of their income on housing, Hansen said.
In the past, affordable housing units have been primarily clustered in the southern area of the city. Lunde said the city needs to ensure that affordable housing is spread out through the entire city, so as not to concentrate poverty in only one area of the city.

The site is on the market for $2.8 million, or $4.50 per square foot. It is zoned R-5 multiple family residential. (Sun Post staff photo by Kevin Miller)
The site is on the market for $2.8 million, or $4.50 per square foot. It is zoned R-5 multiple family residential. (Sun Post staff photo by Kevin Miller)

The Economic Development Authority could purchase the parcel from the bank to retain tighter control over development. However, a majority of commissioners said they did not prefer this route. Commissioners Bob Mata, Mark Mata, Rich Gates and Terry Parks said they would rather see a private developer purchase and develop the site instead of the city.
Berggren said this site is one of a limited number of opportunity sites along the light rail line, and the time to purchase land along the route at a low cost may be dwindling.
“People start purchasing land in this window of time,” Berggren said. “They’re seeing a little bit of spike [in prices] when people identify where the light rail is going to go, and then this gradual incline in land value.
“If the EDA were to consider land acquisition, this might be the time,” Berggren added.
The light rail project office has been planning on creating a controlled, full movement intersection at Candlewood Drive. This street currently terminates at West Broadway. There has been discussion about extending a road from the Candlewood and West Broadway intersection to connect with Jolly and and 79th Avenue, Sherman said .
Commissioners said that this potential road extension has been in discussion in past years, and the residents of that neighborhood are opposed to it.
“I don’t really like the idea of a through road,” said Bob Mata.
“We don’t know how much this street would cost. We don’t know who would pay for it,” Hansen said.
The proposed road could also affect Revive Brooklyn Park Evangelical Free Church, which owns the neighboring lot.
“I can tell you that if you talk to anybody in the Candlewood area, especially if they live on Candlewood, they do not want that through road,” Gates said. “They don’t want that traffic coming straight from [County Road] 81 coming through their neighborhood.”
Lunde said the city could consider the site for a senior living facility, as the nearby creek could be used to create a park or walking paths. The nearby church would also make the site well-suited for senior living, he said.
Bob Mata said city staff members should direct developers to come to the city with preliminary planning before they get too financially involved in any given project for the site.
If a housing development were built on this property, it would be served by the Osseo Area School District.
There is an opportunity to create an enhanced crossing over Shingle Creek as a part of the West Broadway reconstruction that will occur as part of the LRT project, Berggren said.
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]