In recent years, the approach to redevelopment has taken on the repetitive approach of high-rise apartment complexes with first floor commercial space consisting of high-end retail and/or office space; further accompanied by vast amounts of parking. This type of development rarely takes into account the connectivity and accessibility to the surrounding area, or sustainability. Contradictory to the previously stated, a new redevelopment project of a currently vacant garden center (photo) aims to take on an alternative approach to redevelopment by creating not just another apartment complex, but a town center where people can Live, Work, and Play.
Lyndale Gardens, a project by the socially responsible developer the Cornerstone Group, in partnership with the City of Richfield, Metropolitan Council, LISC, and Hennepin County, is located on the border of south Minneapolis, Minnesota in Richfield, Minnesota. The 7.5-acre site, which is slated to open in 2014, will consist of:
- 150 Apartments & Town Homes (80% Market Rate/20% Affordable);
- 20,000 SF Lakewinds Natural Foods Co-Op Grocery Store;
- 10,000 SF Retail;
- One-acre park with trails and public amenities.
“We are not only interested in building a new development, we are interested in building community and creating a safe and engaging atmosphere where area residents can meet their neighbors and have fun in their own community. Lyndale Avenue is undergoing a major transformation that will result in a better, brighter future for Richfield. We want to draw attention to the positive changes in Richfield and help create an active, healthy place that people are proud to call home,” says Colleen Carey, President of The Cornerstone Group.
- Arts & Artists – partnering with local artists to create interactive elements for children and structures such as the band shell for musical performances;
- Nature & Open Space – building a community park and recreational trails providing connectivity and accessibility for nearby residents and businesses;
- Local Food & Urban Agriculture – via community and edible gardens;
- Active Living – through urban agriculture practices and the relocation of a satellite Farmer’s Market to the site;
- Lifelong Learning – through the provision of community education classes;
Currently, a 40 kilowatt solar PV system has been installed on the roof of the former garden center to help offset energy costs of the final development.
Being that this developer is taking a more comprehensive and sustainable approach to redevelopment by integrating various elements into creating a community place, what would be some challenges in achieving this goal? On that same note, are there any processes or policies your community has developed in order to make the vision such as this one, easier for environmentally conscious developers to achieve?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.