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Pillsbury Commons Further Marred By City Officials’ Decisions

The Richfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority rejected three additional actions in regards to the affordable housing project Monday night.

After the to Ron Clark Construction & Design last week, the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) further maimed the Pillsbury Commons project by rejecting three other items Monday night.

The commission held a public hearing regarding the sale former Gleason mortuary parcel, considered a contract for private development and resolution adopting the tax increment financing and modifying the area’s redevelopment plan. All were struck down in unanimous votes.

‘Local Voices Heard’

In a final effort, Ron Clark attorney Jim Susag made a plea for all three items to be tabled, announcing the developer had submitted a letter to the city asking that the council reconsider last week’s decision.

“There is no harm in tabling this tonight, … until we hear from the council,” Susag said during the public hearing.

Obviously, Susag’s pleas were not heard.

In addition, a—both for and against—the sale of the land, many citing that it was utterly unnecessary to table the items.

“I don’t see any reason to drag this out,” Holly Hanson said. “I think the city council has already made its decision. … We don’t need it. We don’t want it.”

HRA members cited multiple reasons for not supporting the passage of the measures. Obviously, after the council’s decision last week, the project itself wasn’t feasible, so selling additional land was unnecessary. In addition, more discussion on the city’s housing policy and the possible effect on struggling Richfield school were also brought up.

Moving Forward

Ron Clark still holds an option agreement for the former city garage parcel. In an e-mail late last week, Clark told Richfield Patch:

“At this time, we are exploring all of our options for the project but have not yet made a decision as to our next steps.”

According to city attorney Corinne Heine, if the developer was to purchase that property, the closing date is June 30. There is some speculation that the developer could sue the city for preventing the project from moving forward, however, that is unconfirmed at this time.

Richfield Patch will update readers if more information becomes available.

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See Richfield Patch's Pillsbury Commons topic page for more articles on the project.

Dan Warnest June 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM
That does not count distressed homes that have an offer sitting at the bank waiting for approval, offers pending inspections etc... otherwise there are 44 total.
Caitlin Burgess June 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Oh OK. That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!
Jason Ladd June 20, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I agree Dan, Why not support revitalization and local individual investment instead of massive developments? We want people to have a stake in the city, empower communities not create refuges of last resorts. Why not reinvest in revitalizing the major thoroughfares with mix use sidewalk friendly, small business friendly options? This all just seems like an easy way out not in the best interest for our community.
Barry L. June 21, 2012 at 02:50 PM
The city staff needs to be creative in finding and reaching out to developers that will build single family homes on HRA sites that are empty. At the May HRA meeting, 4 HRA lots were sold. All single detached housing lots, ranging from 3 bedrooms to 7 bedrooms. We are in a great location. If we can maintain a solid image of a diverse social economic city we can attract higher end store verse Dollar stores. Work with MNHF and use that $13 millon LIHTC funds to rehabbing the 1-2 bedroom into 3 bedrooms. Here is a better idea. To start the process (1) Get City staff to find the grants, funds and to educate the Building owners. (2) Call every Apartment owner in the city to a meeting and have a round house meeting about these programs. (3) Have City staff go and and inspect each apartment building and meet Privately and have suggestion tailored for each apartment building. Some thing simply. If the staff and city elected would just get into a car and drive to each large apartment complex they would see just issues that lead to eye sore units. it is the broken window theory.
Andrea June 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Who else thinks the Metropolitan council and the HRA should be done away with?

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