The site has a long history which is described on the About Terrace Site History page.
In 2014, the City invited developers to meet with staff in a Developer Roundtable to discuss various sites in Robbinsdale which are anticipated to be redeveloped due to underutilization (long empty storefronts) or obsolescence (such as banks no longer needing large buildings.) The Robbinsdale Economic Development Authority (REDA) adopted a Developer Fee Policy which included the opportunity for a developer to explore potential sites including financial analysis and determination of eligibility for Redevelopment Tax Increment Financing. The City of Robbinsdale does not own this property and does not have a source of funds to independently acquire the site - which includes both the mall and the theater.
Kent Carlson was interested in the development potential of the site and undertook to negotiate a purchase agreement with the property owners as well as discussing the site with various potential redevelopment partners. His negotiations with the owner of Terrace Mall and Terrace Theater were completed on October 13, 2015. After gaining site control, Carlson marketed the site and explored various options for reuse of the property as well as entering into negotiations with North Memorial to purchase the parking lot parcel in front of the mall. During this time, Carlson met with city staff numerous times to discuss how proposals matched up to the city Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code, and City Code. Concepts shown to staff included residential concepts, commercial concepts, mix of commercial and residential, some showed reuse of the theater building, some did not. Sketches of potential redevelopment concepts were taken back to the drawing board and were not left with city staff.
On December 16, 2015, Kent Carlson, deposited funds to explore the potential reuse/redevelopment of the Terrace Mall/Terrace Theater site with potential of grants and/or Tax Increment Financing to cover the extraordinary site development costs. He also contracted with American Engineering & Testing to conduct soils tests on the site and check for hazardous substances which would impact redevelopment costs (regardless of reuse or new buildings). Early discussion with staff included the importance of thoroughly exploring the Terrace Theater site to document building condition and potential for reuse. The developer also indicated that part of his process would be to hold a public open house one week prior to the Planning Commission meeting in order to introduce the proposal and have informal time for people to review and discuss the concepts and the existing building conditions.
In late November, 2015 the City Manager met with David Leonhardt, President of the Save the Terrace organization, in response to a document review request. They reviewed previous REDA and City Council agendas and minutes regarding the theater site; the 2002-2007 discussion with previous property owners including a TBRA grant application which was used to remove asbestos in preparation for redevelopment of the theater as an office complex preserving the lobby of the theater; and the City Manager shared the fact that there was a developer who had a purchase agreement on the site and was working on redevelopment plans.
During city goal updates with the City Council at regular work sessions, the City Manager noted that staff was meeting with developers looking at 3 or 4 sites in the City and that information would be shared once an application was received.
In the spring of 2016, a meeting was held with the developer, city staff and numerous government entities to explore the potential grant opportunities to assist with the cost of site clean up, reducing the funds needed from tax increment financing or other sources. Major clean up costs included a sealed-in-place former heating fuel tank showed some soil contamination and the asbestos-containing mastic on the floor tiles in the grocery. There were also meetings held with the developer, city staff, and county staff related to ownership of the land under the West Broadway right-of-way, potential for adding an access to County Road 81, and County plat review requirements if there were to be a direct impact to county property. It was anticipated that an application for site review would be submitted as soon as March, 2016. The developer has also held meetings with North Memorial to develop a purchase agreement for the parking area in front of the mall site and North Memorial is a co-applicant on the plat application. The developer has also held meetings with the current tenants of Terrace Mall property.
On April 19, 2016, the City Council authorized submission of grant applications to the Metropolitan Council and DEED to help cover the cost of clean-up of polluted soils and asbestos abatement discovered on the site. As indicated in the staff report, applying for the grants did not impact the City Council's separate evaluation of redevelopment plans (i.e. application for grants does not require the city to proceed with the development project.) It was anticipated that the developer would be submitting an application on April 21, 2016. The applications were completed by developer consultants which is not unusual for small cities.
The City Manager also had discussions in May 2016 with members of the Save the Terrace group related to the grant applications and the fact that an application from the developer was expected in the near future. They were advised at the time that the information was public although, until the proposal was received, there could be changes to the development proposed or possibly that no application would be made.
Prior to making an application to the City for planning approvals, the developer needed to get signatures from the mall owner and North Memorial. Given the nearly $6M acquisition price, the developer also wanted to have an agreement with the end user of the site - which ultimately was the proposal from Hy-Vee. Negotiations with Hy-Vee including costs of construction on the site, location of buildings, access points and traffic flow through the site, as well as renegotiation of the purchase agreement with the property owner, took longer than anticipated. Application for the site development was submitted on June 23, 2016 with the mall property owner's signature on June 24, 2016. The agreement between the developer, Inland Development Partners, and Hy-Vee was reached in mid-July 2016, right before the developer's July 13, 2016 open house where Hy-Vee's interest in the site was announced.
A special REDA meeting was held on July 5, 2016 to provide an opportunity for the developer to meet with the board and answer questions about the condition of the Terrace Mall and Terrace Theater and to request that the REDA authorize preparation of documents for consideration of providing Pay-As-You-Go Tax Increment Financing to cover extraordinary site preparation costs. REDA also met on July 12, 2016 and authorized a term sheet agreement related to preparation of the request documents. Information on REDA meetings and documents related to this development are listed on the About Terrace - TIF page. The REDA adopted the redevelopment TIF district and plan on August 10, 2016. The City Council also adopted the redevelopment district and plan on August 23, 2016.
The City Council met on August 1, August 23, October 18, and November 22 to consider requests related to the proposal. Information on the City Council review can be found at the About Terrace -City Council Review page.