January 14 2013

Taking the Alternative Route to Redevelopment: Lyndale Gardens in Richfield, Minnesota

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 Garden CenterLyndale 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:

“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.

Lyndale Gardens Site PlanThe overall vision is “to create a new retail, residential, and community town center that attracts people to live, work, and play in Richfield by integrating:”

  • 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;
  • Sustainability.

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.

Jasna Hadzic

Born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but having spent most of her adult life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Jasna Hadzic has been greatly influenced by both cultures, most specifically in terms of architecture, planning, and design. The transition of living in a small European pedestrian-oriented city to a large and vehicle-oriented American city greatly influenced her interest in the field of planning. She came to appreciate the vibrant, culturally diverse and faster-pace of life, while also looking toward her native city as a paradigm of sustainable living with traditional architecture, multi-modal transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly spaces and streets. A recent Master’s graduate in Community and Regional Planning and G.I.S from Iowa State University, Jasna’s Thesis focused on the analysis of the built environment and demographic factors that influence physical activity, while examining street connectivity and infrastructure. In addition, Jasna holds a B.E.D. in Environmental Design, with a minor in Urban Studies, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her most recent work experience as a Planning Research Assistant at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as well as volunteer work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has exposed her to new city projects, as well as community engagement. Her career goal is to not only work directly on sustainable urban design projects, but to also ensure equitable and sustainable planning practices.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 14th, 2013 at 9:55 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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3 Responses to “Taking the Alternative Route to Redevelopment: Lyndale Gardens in Richfield, Minnesota”

  1. Michael Jenkins Says:

    Really great article! I believe in terms of challenges to be faced, the initial challenge will be community buy-in, which is dependent of the the makeup and culture of the the area. However, with the developer’s integration of life long learning and a attractive community, that will definitely erase the challenges that will be faced.

    My home city of Oakland, California actually turned down the state’s offer to build the live work play community. After seeing a neighboring city benefit from Oakland’s loss, they have since struggled to recreate this type of community.

  2. Jasna Hadzic Says:

    Thank you for the note! I definitely agree that community acceptance is an important yet challenging aspect. That said, the developer has addressed that challenge through placemaking – a people centered approach in managing and designing public spaces. A series of community events (i.e. Farmers Market; Winter Market & Festival of Lights) are being held at the site and have proved to be huge successes in both attendance and receptiveness from the community – I will be addressing this topic furthermore in my next blog entry so yes, your comment is very much on point!

  3. Placemaking: Returning a Town Center to Richfield, Minnesota | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    [...] Lyndale Garden Center redevelopment project, which proposes a new sustainable town center in Richfield, Minnesota, is hosting a series of mini [...]

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