Brooklyn Park has approximately 1,200 acres of land available for new developments, and the Economic Development Authority wants to see it filled with as many jobs as possible.
The city has strived to host a total of 50,000 jobs within its limits by 2030. Based on current job projections from the Metropolitan Council and city land-use designations, 40,200 jobs are expected to be found in the city by that time.
As a result, the city will have to change its current development pattern to meet its job-creation goals. City staff members came to the Economic Development Authority May 15 to see if there was an appetite to more aggressively peruse high-job density developments. To do this, changes would need to be made to the city’s comprehensive land-use plan, particularly in areas such as the LRT Blue Line Extension Oak Grove Station Area.
Commissioners directed city staff members to move forward with the changes in hopes of bringing in higher job density developments to the community.
“I think we should go for it,” said Mayor Jeff Lunde. “I want to tell people we’re the job center of the northwest,” he said.
“We need to aim high, and 50,000 might not even be enough,” said Commissioner Bob Mata. “I would aim as high as we possibly can, because we need these daytime jobs in order to get the retail … and restaurants,” he said.
Commissioner Lisa Jacobson said the city should begin setting smaller picture goals to achieve the larger job goal.
“I agree that would should reach higher,” said Commissioner Terry Parks.
Commissioner Mark Mata said the city should consider bringing in more office space.
Of the remaining 1,288 undeveloped acres of land in the city, 209 are designated for housing, 731 are designated for business and 348 are for mixed use. Land designated for mixed use can support business or housing development.
With this land use scheme, land guided for business use will bring approximately 14,194 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs in the community to 41,194. If all the land in the city that is designated mixed use were developed as business along with the land already guided for business, approximately 20,951 jobs would be brought to the city, for a total count of approximately 47,951 jobs.
When compared to national trends in job density, job creators in Brooklyn Park use more space per employee than the national average in every type of employment except industrial uses. On average, an employer in Brooklyn Park has 2.1 employees per every 1,000 square feet of building, as opposed to 4.5 employees per 1,000 square feet nationally.
The national data used for comparison was not adjusted to specifically consider job density in other suburban cities similar in size, population or demographics. Land costs were also not considered in the data.
Industrial employers in the city and nationally house an average of 1.6 employees per every 1,000 square feet of building. Where local office employers have average 2.9 employees per 1000 square feet, national employers house 5.5 employees per 1,000 square feet. In institutional uses, the city lags behind the national average with 1.1 employees per 1,000 square feet as opposed to 6.4 nationally. City commercial uses house 1.8 employees per 1000 square feet, while the national average is 4.5 employees per 1,000 feet.
Medical facilities in the city are closer to the national average, with 3.3 employees per 1,000 square feet and national employers having 4.5 employees per 1,000 square feet.
More than half of the employment in Brooklyn Park is classified as industrial or manufacturing. While on a large picture scale, these jobs meet the national average for density, the density in specific uses can vary widely, ranging from .45 employees per 1,000 feet at Star Exhibits, a display design, construction and storage facility, to 9.2 employees per 1,000 feet at Clearfield, a fiber optic design and manufacturing facility.
There is a significant amount of land that could be developed around the future Oak Grove Station Light Rail Transit station. Much of this land is owned by Target Corporation. This area could potentially house a large, job-dense development that could bring approximately 5,000 jobs, according to Erik Hansen, economic development and housing director.
“If the board is looking to move from 40,000 up to 50,000, this is probably the area [that] we want to protect for high-density job creation,” Hansen said.
While job density is a factor for the city to consider, it must also take into account any development’s tax capacity, market conditions, building space and wages.
Contact Kevin Miller at [email protected]