Additional lane, roundabout could offset congestion near City Place
One of Woodbury’s top redevelopment priorities received nods from Washington County officials last week.
The former State Farm Corporate campus headquarters, now dubbed City Place, underwent an environmental study where Washington County planners suggested a few changes in traffic patterns to make the area less congested once the site is up and running.
Plans for City Place, currently under contract by Florida-based Elion Partners, include two hotels, office buildings, retail shops, restaurants and a grocery store.
The property is located at a busy intersection of Woodbury directly off Interstate 94 and Radio Drive and across from Tamarack Village shopping center.
Washington County planner Ann Terwedo said traffic improvements may include a new roundabout at Hudson Road and Spring Hill Drive to improve access to City Place.
An additional southbound lane would also be added at Radio Drive from Interstate 94, according to the county’s recommendations.
Site improvements also call for turning Woodbury Lakes Road into a two-way frontage road for easier access to and from the shopping center on the east side of Woodbury.
“Woodbury Lakes has struggled to the west a little bit,” City Planner Eric Searles said, noting that adding activity from City Place would bring Woodbury Lakes full circle.
Washington County Board commissioners reviewed the plans with Woodbury planners at a meeting last Tuesday, where they expressed excitement about the revival of the former State Farm Corporate headquarters that’s sat empty for more than eight years.
The company has kept up maintenance of the property, but its value dropped from its highest at $45 million to a current value of $18 million, according to county assessor Bruce Munneke.
The 100-acre site that includes a 400,000 square-foot office building could potentially house three different corporations as it’s divided into three levels.
“The building is ready to go if we find the appropriate tenants,” Woodbury Community Development Director Dwight Picha said.
With 1,800 parking spaces, the existing building could attract up to 2,000 jobs in addition to jobs at the hotels and the rest of the businesses.
“The user that’s going to end up there is a very unique user,” Searles said of the corporate building.
Future transit plans with the Gateway Corridor project could also benefit a site like City Place, county and city officials agreed.
However, alignment plans aren’t quite finalized yet, which makes it difficult for the developers to dedicate specific locations for transit stations, Searles said.
“It’s hard for them to program a space for something they don’t have an immediate return on,” he said. “We certainly believe that a feeder system is a critical portion.”
County Commissioner Lisa Weik, who represents Woodbury on the board, said City Place has been one of the top issues for her constituents as they wonder how the site will look in the future.
“I know that we will find a way forward that’s going to be the best benefit,” she said.
The plans are set to go before Woodbury City Council in August. Elion Partners are expected to close on the property immediately after approval form city officials.