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City Council Work Session
Meeting Date: 05/08/2018  
Subject:    Port Riverwalk Development Proposal and Coon Rapids Boulevard Improvements
From: Matt Brown, Economic Development Coordinator

Staff requests Council feedback on Centra Homes' development proposal for the HRA-owned land at Port Riverwalk, as well as on preliminary plans for Coon Rapids Boulevard streetscape improvements and a pedestrian bridge.
Coon Rapids Boulevard Improvements
Staff has also been working with its consulting engineer, Kimley-Horn, and Anoka County on plans for the Coon Rapids Boulevard right-of-way in the Port Riverwalk area, including future lane configurations, 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 late 2018. Additional improvements, including shifting curb lines, access modifications, and a mill-and-overlay, on Coon Rapids Boulevard are being coordinated for 2019. Staff has been working with Kimley-Horn on concepts and cost estimates for the streetscape improvements and pedestrian bridge, as envisioned by the Port Riverwalk Master Plan. These improvements, along with new ornamental lighting and landscaping, are TIF-eligible and could be completed in 2019 in conjunction with Centra's project without affecting the City's general fund. Representatives from Kimley-Horn will attend Tuesday's work session to provide an overview of the improvements and solicit feedback from the Council as the work moves into the design phase. Topics on which Staff would like feedback include:
  • Proposed approaches of pedestrian bridge
  • Pallette of materials for both the bridge and streetscape elements
  • Bridge lighting
  • Overall landscaping concepts including the median
If there is consensus among the Council, staff will continue to work on the project details, including detailed estimates of construction costs.  We have had preliminary conversations with both the owner of Lilli Putt and the Executive Director of the Nucleus Clinic. Additional discussions will happen as the project moves forwa

Centra Homes Development Proposal
At a February 2018 work session, the Council considered a conceptual development proposal by Centra Homes for the Port Riverwalk site, generally along the south side of Coon Rapids Boulevard between Egret Boulevard and Avocet Street. The HRA had initially entered into a Preliminary Development Agreement for the site in February 2017, which allowed the developer to complete investigation work necessary to determine the feasibility of a project. Centra currently proposes 145 units of owner-occupied detached townhomes, including a mix of one- and two-story units. This development would take up the entire HRA-owned site. 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. A conceptual site plan and building elevations are attached. Since the work session earlier this year, Staff and Centra have been negotiating the terms of a Purchase and Development Agreement. The general terms include:
  • Land Sale Price: $2,000,000 paid at closing.
  • Closing: On or before September 28, 2018.
  • Construction Timeline: The developer to receive plat and site plan approval from city by September 15, 2018. All public streets and public infrastructure must be constructed by August 31, 2019. Housing units would be constructed over a period of a few years.
  • Infrastructure Construction: The developer will be responsible for site grading and construction of  private utilities and other private improvements on development site. The City will construct public streets, sidewalks, and utilities associated with the project. The source of these funds will be pooled TIF from other districts, which have limited other uses.
  • Tax Increment Generated by Project: While the project is located in an existing TIF District, the City will retain all increment generated to recover costs associated with initial land acquisition.

Staff and Centra Homes representatives will provide additional detail at the work session. Provided the Council is comfortable with the project, Staff expects to have the HRA consider the Agreement in June.
Staff seeks feedback and consensus on both the Centra Homes proposal and the proposed streetscape and pedestrian bridge improvements. Staff anticipates that the HRA would consider a full Purchase and Development Agreement with Centra Homes in June and the streetscape and pedestrian bridge work would move into design phase. Staff also proposes a public open house and other public outreach prior to Planning Commission and Council consideration of site plan and plat applications.

Site Plan
House Plans
Pedestrian Bridge/Streetscape Visualizations
Site Plan Perspective

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