CSM: We’re committed to developing Lockheed site
Twin Cities developer says it will resubmit application in next few months
Two months after withdrawing its plans to redevelop the Lockheed Martin property in Eagan, CSM representatives say the company intends to resubmit plans for the site in the near future.
“We are definitely committed to moving forward with developing this property,” said Tom Palmquist, vice president of commercial development for CSM. “But I think it needs to be market driven.”
Palmquist said he expects CSM will resubmit a planned development application in the next few months.
CSM Eagan, a subsidiary of CSM Corp. of Minneapolis, purchased the property off Pilot Knob Road in 2011 after Lockheed Martin announced its plans to vacate its 620,000-square-foot campus in 2013. The developer submitted a proposal last spring to turn the 51-acre site into a large-scale retail development. CSM withdrew its application in December while awaiting results of a traffic study by Dakota County. The study examined traffic on Pilot Knob Road in Eagan and its findings were presented in January.
“The results of the traffic study solidified certain aspects,” Palmquist said.
Palmquist said the company is still interested in bringing retail to the site, but in doing so will require a large anchor.
The company is also looking at potentially adding a 40,000- to 70,000-square-foot medical office to further complement retail on the site, he said.
Shortly after CSM withdrew its application, the Eagan City Council stepped in and hired consulting firm Hoisington Koegler Group to conduct a study to determine best uses of the site.
The city previously used the firm’s services while forming its comprehensive guide plan in 2009.
Representatives of the firm presented various scenarios to the City Council at a Feb. 12 meeting. Council members Paul Bakken and Gary Hansen were absent.
All scenarios would likely impact traffic levels equally, said Bryan Hartjes, of Hoisington Koegler Group.
The group developed five retail scenarios for the site. One calls for a big box store surrounded by smaller retailers, while another depicts a large entertainment venue, such as a movie theater, surrounded by smaller retail buildings. A third concept has a mix of large and small retail stores with several parking lots of varying sizes, which are broken up by buildings. Two other scenarios allow for underground parking or parking structures.
Council members preferred the idea of breaking up parking lots rather than one or two large ones. All agreed they want to avoid creating a strip mall with “a sea of parking.”
Mayor Mike Maguire said he would like to ensure any retail development on the site consists of a mix of small and large buildings.
“My concern with such large footprints is it separates the development from the community,” he said.
The study explored the possibility of leaving the site as a large office campus, but Hartjes noted there is little demand for it in the current market.
The group also presented the option of turning the site into an urban village. An urban village consists of a walkable retail area that features on-street parking, small parking lots, and parking structures. These developments often have a central theme, such as upscale fashion. Woodbury Lakes in Woodbury and the Heart of the City in Burnsville are examples of such developments.
Once the real estate bubble burst, however, demand for this type of development plummeted within suburbs, Hartjes said.
“It’s a long-term commitment and the marketplace isn’t there today,” he said.
Palmquist concurred, adding that Eagan’s proximity to the Mall of America would make it especially difficult to create an urban village on the Lockheed site.
Although they too don’t foresee an urban village on the site, council members reiterated their desire to see a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly retail development.
“I think it’s key with it next to Central Park and walking trails,” Council Member Meg Tilley said.
Tilley and Maguire said they would also like to see a mix of housing – perhaps condos or senior living – incorporated into the development.