Ryan Karasek doesn’t even remember calling the approval of the Mississippi Crossings development a “mic drop” moment. His elation that pen was finally put to paper and shovels were soon to be in the ground for the longtime river project that is expected to a be a major tourist destination for Champlin.
“At my first council meeting in 2012, I remember talking about this development,” said Karasek, Champlin’s mayor since 2017. “This is an incredible opportunity for our city, and I can’t even begin to acknowledge all of the people who have helped make this happen along the way.
“We’ve always been kind of a sleepy city, and it’s always been a great city. I can’t tell you the impact on this community this development will have on the riverfront. This will put Champlin on the map throughout the metro area and the state.”
A groundbreaking ceremony marking the end of two decades of planning and discussion was conducted on Oct. 1. Construction on the 214-unit “market value” apartment complex has begun, with the restaurant and event center along the river set to begin in early-November.
The area will be developed by Minneapolis-based Greco, beginning with the 4.2 acres north of Highway 169 and south of East River Parkway.
The apartment complex will include an outdoor pool, workout area, indoor theatre and two pickle ball courts that will at times be open to the public. The second phase of the development will feature a park pavilion and an outdoor performing area that can be used for concerts.
“In the event there isn’t a private event, they can activate any part of the restaurant,” Karasek said. “If you have a concert there with 1,000 people, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they can fill the restaurant.”
The project was debated at meetings for years with the city council and other officials. Coming to a final decision is seemingly a relief for all parties.
“Overall I am very satisfied with the project we have before us,” said Champlin City Council member Nate Truesdell, who represents Ward 4. “Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but, if we can get four city councilors and a Mayor, who all come from different backgrounds to agree on these plans, it tells me that overall it’s a good thing.
“When the Council got the previous three mayors to discuss the original intent, and to gain their vision for it, I felt an overwhelming desire from all of them to gain a robust business situation along with meaningful access to the river for all of Champlin’s residents.”