Potential Trader Joe’s wine shop boxed out? Update

Featured, Real Estate — By on January 11, 2012 11:44 pm

As I reported last month, Trader Joe’s is looking at moving into a proposed new one-story, single-tenant building on the southwest corner of Lyndale Avenue and 27th Street in the greater Uptown/Lyn-Lake area. After getting grief from many at the neighborhood meeting and the City of Minneapolis, the developer (TOLD) has worked with their architect and Trader Joe’s on revising their plans.

The revised plans, as presented tonight at the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association Zoning & Planning Committee meeting, still call for a single-story, single-tenant Trader Joe’s but has rearranged the site plan to better address some concerns about the building’s orientation and the site layout.

The more significant changes include:
– making the building more rectangle so that it has more frontage along Lyndale
– reducing surface parking by adding stalls underground (albeit the total number of stalls increased by about 20)
– reducing one of the curb cuts on Lyndale by adding a new drive aisle behind the building to 27th Street
– adding a little plaza adjacent the main store entrance by the parking lot
– likely moving the liquor store entry further down Lyndale towards 27th Street that would also have a secondary entrance to the grocery

That said, the project team is still revising all of the drawings and predicted that they won’t be at the Planning Commission until March as a best case. This normally would be a non-issue, however a new proposal for a different liquor store across the street could cause serious repercussions for Trader Joe’s.

The other project anticipates a Planning Commission date in February, which may mean the potential liquor store could get its license before Trader Joe’s. As previously discussed, there are a number of liquor store restrictions in Minneapolis that make it difficult to locate new liquor stores in the City. In this case, if either of these stores get their license, the other one cannot open unless the laws change.

There’s also the possibility that neither will be able to get approved because both require their land to be rezoned to a more intensive commercial use (C2 versus their current C1). This requires votes by both the Planning Commission and the City Council.

It feels like just yesterday we were watching three liquor stores battling it out on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown to see who would be the fortunate new operator since the laws would only allow one to open. Kowalski’s ultimately won out, getting through the process first.

So will Trader Joe’s be boxed out by Cellars Wine and Spirits for the one block on Lyndale Avenue in the greater Uptown/Lyn-Lake area that can potentially house a new liquor store? Time will tell.

(Photo courtesy of JoeInSouthernCA via creative commons license.)

Thatcher Imboden

How cities work and change, how they are the product of their inhabitants and outside forces, and the resulting livability keep me thinking and dreaming about the future. I work in transit oriented development and have a background in urban real estate development. I am Past President of an Uptown business organization, grew up in Uptown, was on an Uptown neighborhood association Board, and am an Uptown and Lyn-Lake historian.

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  1. Bryan says:

    Thatcher, nice summary of the meeting and project updates!

    There were a number of folks at the LHENA Z&P meeting that requested the developer add a story (or two) to the project in order to help with the urban feel. The same comments were made about the 2700 project as well. I’m curious to see what others think about that idea?

    • Urbanite says:

      I personally agree with the idea that an extra story or 2 can do wonders for the feel of the area. A suburban, auto-centric building like this is not right for that location.

    • Thatcher Imboden says:

      Yes, there were a couple of people who brought up additional height at both meetings and I gathered that the general group felt that it was an under-utilization of the site. That said, one gentleman said that he thought the developer should at least build a faux second story because that would better fit with the neighborhood that a 20’+ single story building. I’ll disagree with that as fake second stories always look fake. Perhaps I’ll do a post on that topic, as I have a few photos of that.

      In Pasadena there is an Office Max that is in a single level, “2” story building but when you look through the second floor windows from street level, you can see the lights for the first. I think the building was constructed like this as opposed to a retro fit but I’m not sure. Also, Maple Grove’s ‘main street’ has some of that fake second floor stuff but it’s done mostly through fake windows and trim to the building. It looks tacky in my opinion. I’d rather see building’s like Apple or The North Face that are really tall one-level buildings than to have the fake two level ones, that is, in areas where having some floor-to-ceiling height fits.

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