A garden of amenities in Woodbury?The future of Woodbury’s southern reaches so far appears vibrant and colorful. A new grocery store will be first to join “Bielenberg Garden,” a retail center to be built as part of the Urban Village, an “L” shaped area located east of Radio Drive and south of Bailey Road, near Bielenberg Sports Center.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
The future of Woodbury’s southern reaches so far appears vibrant and colorful.
A new grocery store will be first to join “Bielenberg Garden,” a retail center to be built as part of the Urban Village, an “L” shaped area located east of Radio Drive and south of Bailey Road, near Bielenberg Sports Center.
The development could house a number of commercial and housing units, according to preliminary plans.
“We had done some market research and ascertained that there was a fairly strong demand in the south Woodbury, north Cottage Grove market,” said Keith Ulstad, United Properties’ senior vice president of retail investment and development.
The company will fund the $25 million project that will be built on 30 acres of land. The rest of the 200-acre Urban Village will be home to senior housing, medical offices, parks, single family and multi-family units, as well as the existing Gordon Bailey Elementary School, Five Oaks Community Church and Salem Lutheran Church.
Ulstad expects to break ground on the retail center in April of 2012 with the 65,000 square-foot grocery store slated for a fall 2012 opening.
The rest of the center could accommodate up to eight other lots for restaurants, shops, gas stations, a pharmacy and financial institutions, according to United Properties Developers.
The developers hope to draw residents of Woodbury and Cottage Grove to Bielenberg Garden for essential goods and services as opposed to leisure activities. However, Bielenberg Sports Center attendees are also a target audience.
“The same people that shop at our center will shop up on I-94, they’ll just shop for different things,” Ulstad said, adding, “We’re not trying to compete in that arena. We want to build necessary goods and services where people visit weekly.”
Plans for the new development are at the halfway point, said Bryan Harjes of Hoisington Koelger Group Inc., a consulting company working with the city. He and city staff said they’ve met with stakeholders involved and gathered input and ideas.
Woodbury City Council reviewed potential designs of the “Urban Village” at a special workshop meeting Wednesday.
The plan designates an area for storm water treatment and buffer as well as two parks east of Gordon Bailey Elementary School.
Council member Christopher Burns said future parks should be located closer to the elementary school for the benefit of the families associated with the school.
Everything from walking to parking and eating to shopping was discussed at the workshop.
An earlier Woodbury Planning Commission meeting suggested that Urban Village businesses would benefit from walking traffic from Bielenberg Sports Center.
The plans presented this week suggest three options for foot traffic: crosswalks, a tunnel and an above-grade bridge.
Woodbury Associate Planner Eric Searles said it’s critical to get pedestrians from the sports center to restaurants in the village and other amenities.
“But how is it best?” he asked the council.
Burns suggested placing the fast food and financial/bank area closer to Bielenberg Sports Center, while moving the gas station and pharmacy away closer to Salem Lutheran Church on Bailey Road and the residential area — a suggestion opposite from the plan’s layout.
He said that idea would shorten the walk for those attending games and events at Bielenberg Sports Center.
But with the expansion of Bielenberg on the horizon in 2013, Council member Paul Rebholz said it’s possible that potential leased spaces at the expanded center compete with outside restaurants in the Urban Village.
Convenient foot traffic from the center may deter people away from Bielenberg Sports Center that may already have vendors inside, he added.
“What’s the right mix in terms of size?” Rebholz said of the village.
Harjes said the plan will continue to evolve and be refined over the summer before a draft master plan concept is presented to the public in September for further comment.
“There is much more to be tested and studied and understood about this site,” he added.