Chamber Chat: Presbyterian Homes Requests Bay Center Changes
Economic conditions have caused Presbyterian Homes to seeks revisions to project plans.
by Peggy Douglas
President of the Greater Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce
Presbyterian Homes will be appearing before the Wayzata Planning Commission to ask for a change of use in the West block building at the corner of Lake and Superior. Since the approval of the project in June 2008, there has been a significant change in our economy delaying the start of the project. The change in the demand for both condos and retail are the reason for the request.
Originally the West building was approved for condominiums with retail on the first floor. Presbyterian Homes is asking to change the use to 75 percent senior living (age 55 and older) and 25 percent market rate condo rentals. The first floor retail will stay. John Mehrkens, from Presbyterian Homes, said that the change will allow them to utilize 501c3 bonds for the first three buildings, the North, Superior and West and to allocate infrastructure expenses over three buildings instead of two. Their goal is to have financing in place and begin demolition in December of 2011. This change would also speed up the development of the retail component for both the Superior and West blocks. Their goal is to have the three blocks completed by Spring of 2014.
I spoke with Jim McComb, who did a comprehensive retail study in 2007 for the City of Wayzata, and his opinion is that the change in use would not have a negative effect on retail in Wayzata. In fact, he believes getting the project going as soon as possible is good for Wayzata.
The Wayzata Chamber supported the project in 2008. In speaking with our members, I have found them to support this change that is driven by the changes in our economy. If you wish to comment, please contact me at 952-473-9595 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage our members to attend the meeting on Monday to get more information. You can also email your comments to the chair of the Planning Commission, Laura Merriam at LauraMerriam@wayzata.org.
The next step would be to appear before the City Council on Nov. 15.