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This post, A Fresh Vision for Richfield: Redeveloping the Lyndale Garden Center Site, was featured on the University of St. Thomas Real Estate Matters Blog.

When it comes to development, Colleen Carey, President of The Cornerstone Group, doesn’t believe in just razing one property to replace it with a run-of-the-mill mixed use concept.  Rather, her goal is to “transform the spaces that surround us into spaces that inspire us.”  Her upcoming project, which will transform an abandoned retail site on a core section of Lyndale Avenue in Richfield, will accomplish her company’s mission with a variety of unique components that connect housing and retail with principles of sustainability, community, and the arts.

The ambitious project involves several stages; firstly, there are new retail tenants to secure and a dilapidated greenhouse to rehab.  Carey’s ideal tenant mix includes a natural foods grocer and boutique retail, a local café, and she is exploring the idea of having a farmer’s market – either indoors or outdoors on the site.  Also incorporated in the former Garden Center building will be community space including room for performance arts.

The Cornerstone Group's Site Plan for the Lyndale Garden Center Redevelopment in Richfield, MN

Outdoor areas on the property which extend to Richfield Lake will provide bike trails that serve as a portal connecting to Richfield Lake Park and the surrounding community.  Additional plans for the site include a potential outdoor amphitheatre or band shell and community gardens that feature edible produce and local artwork.

On the north side of the site Cornerstone will develop two or three new multifamily buildings, for a total of 114 units.  The majority of the units will be market rate rentals; there will also be 20% affordable units.  Carey’s mission is to make the site not just a segmented mix of housing and retail, but a community gathering center that features entertainment and events, markets, the arts, and family activities for all Richfield residents to enjoy.

The Cornerstone Group plans to acquire the site this fall and begin construction early next year.  Colleen Carey founded The Cornerstone Group in 1993 and has successfully developed over $200 million in housing and mixed-use projects in Minnesota.  Ms. Carey is a member of the University of St. Thomas Real Estate Advisory Board and is currently Board Chair at Minnesota Land Trust and Chair at ULI Minnesota.