Blaine agrees to high-density housing at Lexington and 109th

Managing Editor
Mandy has been with ABC Newspapers since 2007, when she joined the staff as the editor of the Anoka County Union. She has been the managing editor of the UnionHerald and Blaine Spring Lake Park Life since 2014.

Blaine City Council has approved the general concept for a development planned for a high-profile corner in Blaine.

Lexington Meadows is designed to be a mix of high-density housing, retail, commercial, restaurant and office space at the southwest corner of Lexington and 109th avenues.

“Everyone involved knows this is an important corner for Blaine, this is a gateway as you come off (Interstate) 35,” said Planning and Community Development Director Bryan Schafer. “This is an opportunity site.”

Wellington Management and Dominium’s proposal for high-density housing on 6 of the 32 acres it plans to develop was not consistent with the city’s land use designation restricting it to industrial or commercial development.

The senior affordable housing would include 189 independent living units. There could be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments where rents would range from $975 to $1,350 per month, according to Schafer.

“With the growth of seniors coming up, I think it’s going to be necessary,” Mayor Tom Ryan said.

On a 6-1 vote, the City Council agreed to amend the comprehensive plan’s land use designation to high-density residential for the housing portion of the project. Council Member Andrew Garvais was absent from the Aug. 3 meeting.

While Council Member Wes Hovland said he likes the layout of the overall development, he was the lone no vote.

“I just don’t think this is the proper location for the senior housing,” Hovland said at Blaine’s Aug. 3 council meeting. “In my mind that whole site should remain commercial.”

Council Member Jason King questioned what kind of public transit would be available to serve the new senior housing.

“Right now this area doesn’t have a lot of transit opportunities,” Schafer said.

The council also approved the master development plan for Wellington Management’s Lexington Meadows. But beyond the senior housing component, there are few specifics about the 32-acre development available at this point.

Still, Wellington wanted assurance that the council generally agrees with their concept. Many permit approvals are needed from outside agencies because of the high percentage of wetlands on the 80-acre parcel. Nearly half the site will be used for ponding and drainage.

“It’s too big a project, too big a risk to move forward without some certainty,” Schafer said. “The developer is looking for that comfort level that this is something he can go to work on.”

There will be full access from 109th Avenue that will serve as one of the main entrances into the development, along with a right-in, right-out access onto Lexington Avenue.

According to Schafer’s report, the Wellington indicated it will be mostly a retail development with a possible large user that could be a grocery store.

There have been no tenants secured for this site yet, according to Schafer.

The master development was approved, once again on a 6-1 vote with Hovland opposed.

[email protected]