The industrial cold storage warehouse on Blake Road in Hopkins is set to be demolished late summer to make way for a mixed-income residential development with greenspace along the Minnehaha Creek that will be accessible to the public.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, which owns the 17-acre property, recently selected Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson as master developer. Thirteen acres will be transformed into the residential development. The type of housing is yet to be determined, but it will include a component of affordable housing.

The remaining four acres will be retained by the watershed district to restore the most degraded stretch of the 22-mile creek. Currently, polluted storm water runoff flows into the creek, which has harmed water quality and disturbed wildlife habitats. Those factors, along with the urbanized landscape, has rendered the creek largely inaccessible to the community. The restoration will add a storm water treatment system that purifies rainfall before it flows into the creek.

Detailed project design will begin in a few months, once the contract with the developer is finalized, according to watershed officials. Warehouse demolition is timed to coincide with the current reconstruction of Blake Road. Site construction is expected to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2021.

Redeveloping the site is a win-win situation for the city and the watershed district. It will achieve the district’s goal to restore that stretch of the creek and the city’s goal to add housing on the site and update Blake Road.

“This project epitomizes our approach of working in partnership to improve water quality while achieving our partners’ goals,” said Sherry White, president of the watershed district’s board of directors.

“The city is enthusiastic about the potential for this site to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of the Blake Road corridor,” said Hopkins Councilmember Aaron Kuznia.

This project is the centerpiece of the watershed district’s Minnehaha Creek Greenway initiative, which also includes other restoration projects upstream and downstream, such as the recently-renovated Cottageville Park, Minnehaha Creek Preserve and Methodist Hospital. Overall, the initiative will restore 1.5 miles of the creek and open up 50 acres of previously inaccessible creekfront.

In addition to the city and watershed district, portions of the project are funded by the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority, the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and Hennepin County. Additional grant funds are being solicited to fund the demolish of the warehouse and implement restoration.

Copyright © 2018 at Sun Newspapers/APG Media of East Central Minnesota. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.

I am a reporter for the Sun Sailor, covering Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Deephaven, Greenwood, Woodland and the Hopkins School District.

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