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Similar to the St. Paul residents, the subjects of last week's blog post, a cohort of Edina residents have actively opposed plans for a higher density residential development near Southdale Center. The disputed site is at 7250 France Ave - which at this point is home to an "office building and a crumbling underground parking garage" (as stated in this Star Tribune article covering the civic debate). The most recent proposal was a greatly paired down version of what the developers had initially submitted for approval, which was a $100M project with multiple buildings, including residential towers at 19 and 14 stories connected by a bridge. That initial grandiose proposal was submitted in summer 2017 and was quickly rejected by the City Council. The developers have since rehashed the concept a few times over, and the most recent to come before the City Council was for a 7 story, 135 unit single building.  

 

This modified proposal was also rejected by the City Council earlier this month, as reported in the Star Tribune. Neighbors vehemently opposed the plans, reasoning that the taller residential building would bring more traffic to the area. Moreover, they advocated for the City Council to delay approving variances from current code until the city has completed its revised comprehensive plan in the second half of the year. Council members will have more decisions to make before that time as the Southdale area is a hotbed of development. It's an area that sets the standard for an upscale, walkable, mini urban center, and there are still several sites in the area that are beckoning to developers. 

 

Edina City Council's rejection of the proposal provides a counter point to St. Paul's situation where the council there has approved many such variances for multi-family units. However, St. Paul has a new mayor that is majorly pro-density and the council is acting under that guidance. Edina may move closer to St. Paul's track record with the coming revisions to its comprehensive plan – tbd. 

Original Photo By Ben Franske (BenFranske) (BenFranske at en.wikipedia), CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13353141