The Minnetonka City Council has decided to move forward in the review process for a new concept for the Shady Oak redevelopment project that borders Hopkins.

The new concept plan was brought to the council Jan. 6 and was referred to the Economic Development Advisory Commission and to the Planning Commission, which will have a public hearing on the proposal at the Thursday, Jan. 16 meeting.

The current proposal from Ron Clark Construction, which would replace the existing commercial building, includes a three-story, 75-unit apartment building on the property at 4312 Shady Oak Road and on a portion of the property to the south that is currently in Hopkins.

The units would be a mixture of sizes from alcove and studio apartments to two-bedroom apartments. Twenty-two or 30% of the units would be affordable at 60% of the area median income with the remainder at market-rate.

The previous proposal was anticipated to have 100% affordable units, however, the developer was unsuccessful receiving tax credits to make that possible “due to the over-subscription of funding through the state’s housing tax credit program, which awards funding on a competitive basis based upon a complex scoring process,” according to the staff report.

Because of this, the developer is seeking $1.8 million in tax-increment financing from the city.

“Unless we can pick up the site and move it another 1,000 feet to the south and be within a half-mile of the actual platform for the new light rail, we’re not going to get over the hump,” said Mike Waldo of Ron Clark Construction, noting the developers were disappointed to not be able to make it 100% affordable.

“That was a conversation we had with staff. Do we want to fight that battle for another two years and not know if we’re going to be successful, or look at something where we think it will be a great addition to the neighborhood?” he said.

The current proposal also reduces the structure from 415 feet to 375 feet, which was done by eliminating the previously proposed three-bedroom units.

Cooperation from the City of Hopkins is required as a portion of the adjacent land is part of the development.

Mayor Brad Wiersum explained that the council was not approving the proposal at that time, rather it was a procedural action to move forward in the process and that the council would review the plan further.

The proposal is expected to come back to the council at the Monday, Feb. 24, meeting.

In other business

The council supported staff members’ efforts to work with the Mills Church to engage the public regarding potential housing options on the campus at 13215 Minnetonka Drive.

The goal of the engagement process is to study and gather feedback on potential redevelopment for the 5.6-acre site.

In addition to the church building, the campus includes the former village hall building, three homes, a garage, parking areas, a playground and open space.

The city will hire Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation to study the options and conduct a series of five workshops. The first is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 8, at Mills Church Annex (former Village Hall bldg.), 13231 Minnetonka Drive.

Attendees can hear how several church groups have gone about developing land to support their mission.

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Kristen Miller is the community editor for the Sun Sailor, covering the communities of Plymouth, Hopkins and Minnetonka. Email story ideas to kristen.miller@ecm-inc.com

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