|In February 2017, the HRA approved a preliminary development agreement with Centra Homes LLC for a project on the HRA-owned Port Riverwalk redevelopment site along the south side of Coon Rapids Boulevard between Egret Boulevard and East River Road. Extended through February 2018, this agreement has given Centra the exclusive right to work with the HRA and begin the engineering work necessary for determining the need for public financing. In the last year, Centra has completed soil borings, a wetland delineation, and cost estimates for site preparation work. The HRA has updated a title commitment and continued to work with its real estate counsel on resolving outstanding title issues with the property. While the ongoing resolution of various survey and title issues with the site has prolonged the time frame, Staff and Centra have been negotiating the terms of a full development agreement and seek Council feedback on the development proposal.
Centra Homes Proposal. Centra currently proposes 157 units of owner-occupied detached townhomes, including 47 one-level units on 50' wide lots, 78 two-level units on 40' wide lots, and 32 one-level units on 40' wide lots. This development would take up the entire HRA-owned site. The number of units has increased by about 40 from Centra's previous proposal and all units along Coon Rapids Boulevard would be oriented toward a reconstructed Coon Rapids Boulevard trail, rather than having back yards facing Coon Rapids Boulevard. The proposed street configuration reflects the layout recommended by the Port Riverwalk Master Plan, with elimination of the existing frontage road and a continuous new street connecting Egret Boulevard and Avocet Street. Staff and Centra have also been in contact with Kwik Trip, which is potentially interested in an approximately 3-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Coon Rapids Boulevard and Avocet Street. If the convenience store is developed, the number of two-level townhomes would be reduced from 78 to 58. The anticipated schedule for the project is as follows:
Spring 2018: Finalize development agreement and prepare plat/site plan
Summer 2018: Approval process for plat/site plan applications
Late Summer/Early Fall 2018: Closing and commencement of construction; build-out would occur over approximately three years.
Because of the amount of infrastructure work and the condition and shape of the site, the project will require gap financing. However, Staff believes the gap can be covered by pooled TIF funds that have limited other uses. These funds would cover a portion of demolishing existing infrastructure and constructing new public streets, sidewalks, and utilities. New tax increment generated by the development would be used to repay the City for a portion of its initial land acquisition costs. Representatives from Centra, as well as the City's financial advisor, will attend Tuesday's meeting to provide additional detail.
Coon Rapids Boulevard Improvements. Staff has also been working with Anoka County on plans for the Coon Rapids Boulevard right-of-way in the Port Riverwalk area, including future lane configurations, traffic projections, trail locations, lighting, landscaping, and concepts for a pedestrian bridge near Avocet Street. Anoka County intends to replace the traffic signal at Avocet Street in 2018 and will potentially make additional improvements to the Coon Rapids Boulevard roadway. In addition, Metro Transit plans to move eastbound buses from the frontage road to the Coon Rapids Boulevard shoulder lane in March of this year. Staff proposes to reconstruct the Coon Creek Trail on the south side of Coon Rapids Boulevard and make other improvements in conjunction with Centra's development. Staff has been developing preliminary concepts and cost estimates for a pedestrian bridge, as envisioned by the Port Riverwalk Master Plan. Staff believes that these improvements, along with new ornamental lighting and landscaping, are TIF-eligible and could be completed in conjunction with Centra's project without affecting the City's general fund.