City allows for Main Street building upgrades

Anoka City Council has approved a plan for the rehabilitation of the front of the Main Street Square building at 224 E. Main St.

Main Street Square houses G’s Cafe, Advanced Hearing Care, Party Papers, The Costume Shop and The Halloween Store.

Owner Steve Jenson of Bridgeside Properties told the city council repairs to the facade of the building are necessary because it is in rough shape.

Jenson said plans include redoing the front of the building with real brick and the addition of pillars and a clock tower at the building’s main entrance.

The work required an encroachment agreement with the city because those pillars will come out onto the city’s sidewalk by 18 inches.

But this happens to be at the same location where the city will be adding a mid-block crosswalk between Second and Third avenues, where the sidewalk will be widened to include a bump-out, lessening the effects of coming out onto the city property.

“We really weren’t going to do that at first, but when that (the crosswalk) was approved we thought that would be really neat,” said Jenson.

City staff maintain there will still be ample room on the sidewalk, even with the 18-inch encroachment.

“There would still be more than 10 feet of sidewalk where those bump-outs are and a typical sidewalk is six feet so there would still be substantial room there,” said City Planner Erik Thorvig.

Along with the two pillars, there would be three other encroachments of four inches each, or the width of a brick, said Thorvig.

According to staff, an encroachment agreement was also made with Jenson in 2010 when improvements were made to the Bridge Square building on First Avenue.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver commended Jenson for investing in the buildings that he and other family members own in downtown Anoka.

“In reality those facade improvements you make don’t improve your bottom line one penny,” said Weaver. “You don’t get a return on it, but you get satisfaction when you come to work every day. What Steve is doing here is making the postcard of Anoka even more quaint.”

Jenson told the council that footings will have to be added to accommodate a new brick front on the building, which will be done in conjunction with that block’s reconstruction as part of the East Main project now under way.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]