14 Sep 2014
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Pillsbury Commons Project Effectively ‘Dead’

City denies the sale of two additional parcels, however, the developer can still choose to close on the land held by an option agreement.

Pillsbury Commons as it was most recently proposed is now, for lack of a better term, dead.

The Richfield City Council rejected developer Ron Clark Construction & Design’s counter-offer to purchase two additional parcels of city-owned land at a meeting Tuesday night. Without the additional pieces of land to aid in meeting housing density requirements, the proposal as it sits “won’t work,” according to .

However, the former Richfield Public Works storage facility, which is located south of the other two parcels, is still held by an option agreement. The city entered into the agreement about two years ago and is still required to sell the property to the developer if he still wishes to purchase it. According to , the closing date would be June 30.

At this point, it is not clear what the developer will do.

The Decision

Following a closed session, motioned to reject the proposal, citing a lack of a formal housing policy, inconsistency with the Corridor Housing Initiative density guidelines, and the desire to wait until the property value appreciates, and noted other housing models are more feasible. All Goettel's reasons were also outlined in the agenda as potential deal-breakers.

However, said she would not support the motion.

“The benefit of this project is providing two- and three-bedroom units,” she said. “I think we do need upscale housing and I certainly think that we need upscale rental housing … the project [proposal] did provide that.”

agreed that more upscale housing was needed, however, a 100 percent affordable housing complex should not be in Richfield.

“I really am adamantly looking [to create] more upscale [housing], mixed with affordable housing or workforce housing, or whatever you want to call it,” Wroge said. “I think we need to bring people here with disposable incomes.”

He also stated that this could be an opportunity to get existing apartment complex owners to convert their plethora of one-bedroom units into two- and three-bedroom units.

Of course, never at a loss for words, Wroge went on to say he had reviewed documents that showed people of color and single heads of household would be targeted as tenants, which did not sit well.

“If people are in need of housing, it shouldn’t matter what color they are or if they are married or single,” he said. “That was one of the biggest things that I just don’t get.”

Richfield Patch will update readers as more information on the developer’s intentions with the city garage property becomes available.

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Visit our Pillsbury Commons topic page for more articles on the project.

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