The cooperative living development approved for downtown Mound’s Harbor District this summer moved ahead on schedule Dec. 8 when city council members separately approved each of the developer’s requests for preliminary platting, rezoning and conditional use.
Each request was endorsed by a 3-1 vote, with council member Paula Larson voting against all measures. Outgoing council member Jeff Bergquist was absent.
The city had signed a purchase and development agreement with Bloomington-based Lifestyle Communities in July this year for the construction of a four-story, 52-unit cooperative living development on roughly 2.4 acres of its downtown Harbor District.
Mound planning commissioners had in November recommended that council approve Lifestyle’s request for rezoning the site, from mixed use to a Planned Unit Development, as well as their request for the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) necessitated by that zoning designation.
Part of Lifestyle’s “Zvago” brand, the new Mound co-op will be an owner-occupied, age-restricted development whose occupants buy into a single master mortgage when they purchase a private unit. Lifestyle completed a similar project in 2017 in Minnetonka’s Glen Lake neighborhood and is currently in the presale phase on a forthcoming project in Long Lake.
A general outline of the project shows that the Mound co-op will be mostly two-bedroom units ranging from 1,200 square feet to nearly 2,000 square feet for those units with dens. Only four one-bedroom units have been planned, these sized at just over 1,000 square feet. As an age-restricted development, at least one occupant per unit must be 62 or older. Units are expected to cost in the mid-300 thousands to mid-500 thousands.
Ben Landhauser, vice president of development for Lifestyle Communities, said that many of the finishes would be similar to those found in luxury apartments. Residents would be able to choose from nine different floor plans and four aesthetic themes within those plans.
Inside amenities would include a wellness studio, great room, entertainment suite and business center.
Outside, two pickleball courts and a garage “maker space” or common area for woodworking and artistic endeavors, are also part of the plan, as are a dog washing station and charging station for electric cars. Unique to the Mound co-op is that occupants will have first right of use to 10 city-owned docks on Lost Lake, an agreement that hearkens to the city’s first advertisement to developers in November 2019.
Landhauser also unveiled a preliminary landscaping plan that would leave nearly 1 acre of the purchased site as open green space. This would be in addition to the remaining 3-plus acres in the Harbor District that the city still owns and which remain undeveloped.
Additionally, and as part of the amended CUP that council approved Dec. 8, a commitment by Lifestyle to work alongside the New Mound Farmers Market & More, in addition to the city’s community development director, in finalizing its landscape plan was put into writing.
That amendment, suggested by council member Sherrie Pugh, followed concerns voiced by one of the market’s co-founders during the public hearing, also held Dec. 8. The market has operated for some 10 years in the area adjacent to the site purchased by Lifestyle and its Saturday morning presence has become a popular fixture there for six months of the year.
“There’s more than likely an accompanying community-engagement, community-sourced strategy for improving the public spaces that wrap around this project space,” said Eric Hoversten, Mound city manager, who said the market was a “key stakeholder” that would be engaged in the process as the co-op takes shape. “The intention is to overall raise the performance of everything in how the city may be able to invest in the remaining city spaces and make sure everything ties together appropriately.”
Next in the timeline is the developer’s submittal of a feasibility study, due early in February and following the 180 days “due diligence” period included in the purchase and development agreement. The city of Mound agreed to sell the site to Lifesyle Communities for $700,000; that sale price anticipated a heavy financial burden in soil mitigation costs. The developer has already indicated as part of the agreement that it was ready to pay for any such necessary mitigation, which was estimated could be as much as a half-million dollar investment even prior to construction, which is tentatively scheduled to start in July.