Thursday, October 13, 2005

Developing the Midway

The continuous evolution of the Midway area may take place soon as plans for the demolished MTC Bus Barn site is unfolding.
St. Paul officials are moving forward with plans to bring Best Buy and Lowe's to the site of the old bus barn at Interstate Hwy. 94 and Snelling Avenue, despite opposition from some community groups that say the project isn't ambitious enough.
The PiPress reports on some frustration with the move:
The plan, however, is angering residents and University Avenue community groups in both neighborhoods. They blame the city for not informing them of major decisions along the corridor.

"When you look up, one minute there's a vacant lot, and the next minute, something's being built, and you're saying, 'What is it?' " said Jolene Mason, community organizer of the Community Stabilization Project, one of several groups planning to protest at the bus barn site this morning. "We're protesting the process that didn't take place."
I have lived in the Midway for almost 10 years now, after spending about five years in the Selby/Dale neighborhood. Being a transplanted Minneapolitan I have had to ease my way into what I continue to perceive in St. Paul as a cluster of neighborhoods rather then an urban core like in Mpls.

Selby/Dale has had it's own rebirth, with store fronts transitioning and empty lots being replaced with thriving businesses and housing opportunities. The Midway had lacked in that area for sometime. But that seems to have changed, since there is now multiple projects that have been either completed, in progress, or in latter stages of planning.

The old Knox Lumber yard site sat vacant for awhile, but now Menards is open and seems to always have a nice assortment of vehicles in the lot patronizing their store. An Aldi's is going up in what was a perpetual rundown corner of Lexington and University (Not sure if Aldi's will be the answer to a that, but we'll see). I mentioned, in June, the impending Super Target possibility on the Current Four Season's Sheraton plot.

On the other side, I did read about a significant change on the University strip that will certainly change the look and feel. Multiple car dealerships are spread out between University and Snelling, but one is leaving:
Ron Saxon Ford, a retail fixture on St. Paul's University Avenue for nearly 50 years, plans to close its city auto dealership on Oct. 31.

The dealership's owners disclosed their plans Monday to the store's approximately 45 employees, blaming the imminent closing on a drop in sales.

Car and truck buyers, they said, have mostly deserted the St. Paul store to shop at the Saxon family's newer, more attractive Ford dealerships in Inver Grove Heights and New Brighton.
When I was looking for vehicles, I shopped most of the dealers on the strip, but in both cases (one used, one new), I ended up at Wally World in Roseville. The reason was more due to selection and availability, then location.

As the evolution continues, the biggest piece of the puzzle is still in limbo, the long awaited Light Rail University corridor to Minneapolis. I will be Googling all about it today, in hopes I can find some updates. I just hope I still live in the area to be able to take advantage of this much delayed project.


No comments: