District 833- Unplug from the Matrix!

Minnesota School Districts Fear Losing Taxpayer Funds to Promote a Referendum

HR&A’s Gateway Corridor Report

District 833- Unplug from the Matrix!

Posted in: Uncategorized | Comments Off on District 833- Unplug from the Matrix!

South Washington County Schools established the budget matrix to provide a “simplified” District 833 cost per student spending profile.  They compare the per student spend across seven broad categories (on the left) against various levels of service those spend achieves (top).  While this approach seems nice on the surface, it in no way affords a responsible way to make good decisions.  With an annual budget of around $250,000,000 the devil is in the details and accountability for sound judgement cannot be assumed.  It requires transparency to the programs and the line-item accounting of the district’s past, present, and future spending plans.

A major drawback of the matrix is it’s oversimplification.  The spend levels are given in discrete amounts and the level of service rendered is subjective based on how the administration views the playing field; not necessarily how the parents, students, and taxpayers may see it.  This was evident during the citizens feedback given during the “Community Conversations” the district held these past two months.  Examples were the negative response by the public against the planned cancellation of  Band and Reading Recovery.  The sacred cows, not to be considered, were programs like IB, AVID andWorld’s Best Work Force.

To make a responsible decision, it is necessary to analyze all available resources which would include the line-item budget; it’s common sense. A leader would make certain that, for planning and evaluation purposes, board members would return to the original line-item budget for reference.  Unfortunately, for all of us, District 833 School Board members made a decision to shove a $180 million referendum down the throats of taxpayers this coming November without the benefit of a program-by-program / line-item budget review.

So what are the line-item numbers behind each of the Service Level Matrix categories?  Why aren’t administrators releasing an individual line-item budget to the school board and to members of the community?  Why didn’t school board members demand access to the line-item budget before agreeing to ask taxpayers for more money? We deserve the courtesy of reviewing the budget details to make a determination as to why the administration has incurred liabilities in excess of appropriations. How did the fund balance drop so drastically that we now have an $8.5 million shortfall?

It is your right as a taxpayer to have a line-item budget made available to you.  Please make a request for the line-item budget to members of the school board so you can see for yourself.  Oh, and let us know if they charge you for the information.

School Board Chair
[email protected]
School Board Clerk

School Board Director
School Board Director
 Witte, Michelle

School Board Director

School Board Treasurer


The budget matrix, the lengths the district has gone to do defend it, and the hesitation to provide the details behind it has brought to mind this video clip from the classic sci-fi  film, The Matrix.

Political Hack @ March 2, 2015

Minnesota School Districts Fear Losing Taxpayer Funds to Promote a Referendum

Posted in: Education | Comments Off on Minnesota School Districts Fear Losing Taxpayer Funds to Promote a Referendum

Minnesota School Districts Fear Losing Taxpayer Funds to Promote a Referendum

Posted by ~SAR

Why would DFL members of a government committee be interested in shutting down the testimony of a stay-at-home mom?  Could it be that school districts across Minnesota have reason to fear the taxpayers for the “education” they supposedly provide to students?

On February 3, 2015, a bill was introduced into the Government Operation and Election Committee by Representative Glenn Gruenhagen that would prohibit public funds to promote or defeat a ballot question.  Sounds like common sense to me but, apparently, school districts don’t like the odds unless they outspend the voters who have opposing viewpoints.  Doesn’t seem like a fair fight when the money they use to push a referendum down our throat is money they received from us.


Word of my testimony must have reached the South WashingtonCounty School Districtbecause former school board member, Jim Gelbmann, made an appearance.  While I realize the Jim has a job at the MN State Capitol, I found it interesting that he would choose to attend this particular hearing.  After all, his spotty attendance as a school board member was a contributing factor to his resignation in 2014.

Apparently, this bill is bringing out some powerful opponents.  An expert in opposition to HF208  rushed to the microphone after Rep. Gruenhagen introduced the bill. This so called expert stated that the bill was for state ballot questions only and excluded local ballot questions like school referendums.  He implied that taxpayers who took time off from work to give testimony  in favor of the bill  could pack their bags and go home.


Attorney Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson was quick to provide his professional opinion as to why HF208 did include school referendums and local elections. Kaardal is a defender of citizens in their fight against big government and has made hundreds of appearances on behalf of his clients in federal and state courts.  I am relieved that he is on our side.
Don Huizenga a taxpayer from the Anoka-Hennepin County School District, was also present to offer his support of HF208.

Not easily dissuaded, I made my way to the microphone despite the objections to my testimony by DFL Representatives Michael Nelson and Carolyn Laine.  After what seemed like constant interruptions, I  told  the committee that two stay-at-home moms are now being charged up to $48 per hour by South Washington County Schools for some data requests.  This gave me the opportunity to speak on behalf of the taxpayers of Woodbury, Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park and Newport who are appalled that their tax dollars are used to support a positive outcome for referendum campaigns.

My testimony to the committee is as follows:

Testimony in Support of HF208


Like most Minnesotans, I support prohibiting public officials from using public funds or resources to promote or defeat any ballot initiative.  It is crucial that school districts stop using taxpayer dollars to assure a positive outcome for referendum campaigns.  It leaves taxpayers and voters disadvantaged should they have an opposing viewpoint.

In 2013, South Washington County School Principal, Julie Nielson, was pulled off of her job at Middleton Elementary to aid the district in promoting the referendum.   This necessitated the hiring of a substitute principal to fill her position.  Therefore, taxpayers were funding both Ms. Nielson, whose salary for 2013 was $106,686, and the substitute principal whose salary remains a mystery.

Emails from Ms. Nielson were sent to all legislative representatives in the South Washington County district.  This email provides the proof necessary to substantiate the claim that Ms. Nielson was, indeed, placed on special assignment to support the 2013 referendum campaign:

Hi  ———: This is Julie Nielson wanting to connect with you to set up a one hour meeting time with our Superintendent.  I am on special assignment to start the year working on the district’s referendum campaign and am in charge of all details surrounding getting accurate information out.  Dr. Jacobus has requested time to meet with each legislator individually.  I am hoping that you might be able to find time in the next 3-4 weeks to schedule a coffee, breakfast, lunch, or any time in between with Dr. Jacobus.  Feel free to send back a couple of dates/times that work for you and I will check his calendar.  If it is easier to give me a call, I can be reached at ——.  Thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing from you.

As a taxpayer, I find this waste appalling.  Our District is now facing a budget shortfall of $8.5 million this academic school year.  Proposed cuts include the elimination of the elementary music program and a reduction in school nursing staff.   To add insult to injury, the district will be asking for over $180 million from taxpayers in the fall.  Our children are being short-changed and taxpayers overburdened.

~Updated 7:20am 2/4/15~AMB

at 8:00 PM

Labels: Anoka-Hennepin, democrats, Education, government, Gruenhagen, HF208, Levy,Minnesota Data Practice, Minnesota Legislature, Referendum, School Board, schools, South Washington County district 833, Taxpayers, voters

Political Hack @ February 7, 2015

HR&A’s Gateway Corridor Report

Posted in: Transportation | Comments Off on HR&A’s Gateway Corridor Report


99 Hudson Street, 3rd Floor · New York, NY 10013
(T): 212.977.5597 · (F): 212.977.6202


To:                           Andy Gitzlaff, Lyssa Leitner, Washington County, MN

CC:                           Kimley-Hom and Associates, Inc. SRF Consulting Group

From:                     HR&A Advisors, Inc.

Date:                       July 28, 2014

Re:                          Gateway Corridor — Task 1 findings


The Washington County Regional Rail Authority, on behalf of the Gateway Corridor Commission, is seeking guidance on two alignment decisions — D1 versus D2 and the E alignment. HR&A analyzed real estate market conditions on the corridor, toured the corridor, and interviewed municipalities and area real estate experts (in-person and by phone) to inform these decisions. Exhibit D provides a list of the interviews and interview summaries.

HR&A assessed these options in terms of their ability to foster economic development and transit-oriented development (TOD), specifically:

  • Access to existing and Future employment areas — Decisions should maximize access to existing and future employment areas at station areas along the corridor. Employment access is a useful metric in evaluating project goals, as stated in the February 2014 Scoping Booklet, such as maximizing ridership and maximizing the number of people served. More broadly, greater employment access enhances the ability of corridor residents to reach job opportunities.
  • Ability to catalyze TOD — The selected alternative should maximize opportunity for TOD by connecting to station areas that are market-ready for new moderate to high density development featuring mixed uses.1 Maximizing future development opportunities is a stated objective for the Also, TOD is a development format that minimizes environmental impact, another stated objective of the project. More broadly, TOD reduces reliance on automobiles for travel and can alleviate housing and transportation burden for households.

1 This is consistent with the Metropolitan Council’s definition of TOD in its June 2013 TOD Strategic Action Plan: “A moderate to higher density district/corridor located within easy walking distance of a motor transit stop that typically contains a mix of uses such as housing, jobs, restaurants, shops, services, and entertainment. These districts/corridors enable people of all ages, background, and incomes abundant transportation choices and the opportunity to live convenient, affordable, and active lives.”


HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor



HR&A examined historical real estate market dynamics to gauge the current viability of real estate development along the corridor. The study area for the market analysis is a geography defined as the 2-mile buffer from 1-94 spanning from the proposed Mounds Boulevard station to Manning Avenue. The study area does not include downtown Saint Paul in order to isolate and understand market dynamics on the D and E portions of the corridor which differs from the real estate market dynamics of downtown. Exhibit A provides a map of the corridor study area. The exception is in the residential permit analysis in Figure 1, which examines permit activity at a municipal level rather than a specific study area.

To determine transit’s ability to catalyze new development, HR&A also interviewed real estate experts to gauge how transit access affects household and tenant demand. Transit provides both placemaking and mobility benefits, which can increase willingness to pay for transit-adjacent real estate. The rent premium attributable to transit varies by use (i.e. residential, office, etc.) and depends on the quality of service, perceived permanence of stations, and importance of destinations along the corridor.



The corridor is dominated by single-family housing. Multifamily housing a typical TOD building format is rare on the corridor. When compared to other parts of the Twin Cities, there is less potential for its development. The vast majority of residential development for nearly 40 years has been single family, and there is no clear trend towards multifamily. There has been some recent multifamily development in Woodbury with The Flats and Uptown at CityWalk and Crown Villa Apartments.

Multifamily rents can support low-rise TOD but are not yet sufficient for supporting mid-rise development even with the provision of transit. Rents are approximately $1 to 1.5 per square foot per month and can support the construction of lowrise townhomes, format which can be transit-oriented and is already prevalent along the corridor with more underway. However, it is an insufficient rent to finance new mid-rise construction even after considering a transit rent Premiumof 5 to 10%. The demographic interested in higher-density living is generally attracted to downtown environments in Minneapolis or Saint Paul.

Figure 1. Residential Permit Activity, 1980-2013



Analysis includes the municipalities of Maplewood, Oakdale, Landfall, Woodbury, and Lake Elmo



3M is the single largest employer on the corridor and anchors the office market. 3M supports office market activity elsewhere on the corridor, as a result of spinoff and supplier companies taking up office and flex space.

The office market  beyond 3M features some other major employers such as The Hartford, but suffers from high vacancy and static rents. The corridor has an inventory of 3.9 million square feet of office space, of which 19% (830,000 square feet) is vacant, a marginal improvement from the post-recession peak of 22%. Rentals rates are currently $14 per square foot per year, still below the 2007 peak of $16. As shown in Figure 2, very little office space has been built since the market downturn in 2008.

Limited market activity suggests new office is unlikely to be a primary land use for future, development on the corridor. Since 2006, the corridor experienced an average annual gross absorption of 225,000 square feet and anemic net absorption of 5,000 square feet per year. Given the challenging market dynamics since the recession, development has been limited to build-to-suit or owner-occupied facilities such as Anytime Fitness’ recently announced headquarters in Woodbury and Bremer Bank’s 600-person back office at Eagle Point Business Park in Lake Elmo. Developers of The Oaks in Oakdale, Crossroads of Oakdale, and Eagle Point do not plan to build-out the remainder of their business parks without new leasing commitments. The combination of high vacancy, low rent, and limited absorption suggest there is little opportunity for new office development in the near-term. Tenants in East Metro perceive transit access as a secondary amenity and developers do not anticipate the provision of transit to provide a rent premium that improves the economics of building new office space.




Industrial is primarily located on the eastside of Saint Paul, a legacy industrial area. Market conditions  suggest limited future growth opportunity for the rest of the corridor. The corridor has an inventory of 3.8 million square feet of industrial space, with the majority located in historically industrial areas like the eastside of Saint Paul. The market has a vacancy rate of 11% (429,000 square feet), an improvement from the 19% vacancy rate seen in 2010. Rentals rates are currently $3.8 per square foot per year, below the 2007 peak of $5.1. As shown in Figure 3, the only major delivery since 2006 is a manufacturing facility for Baldinger Bakery, located on the former 3M Saint Paul campus currently owned by the Saint Paul Port Authority,

Since 2006, the corridor experienced an average gross absorption of 144,000 square feet and negative net absorption of 108,000 square feet per year. While a significant number of greenfield sites are suitable for industrial use along the corridor, there is no clear market demand for new industrial space.  Transit may be an amenity for industrial tenants, but it is not a primary site selection parameter.

Figure 3. Industrial Delivery, Absorption, and Vacancy, 2006-2014



HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor



The flex market has recovered and features low vacancy, though development economics remain challenging. Flex is a versatile building typology meant for office, warehouse, or industrial use. The market has 7% (151,000 square feet) vacancy and rentals rates are currently $8.6 per square foot, still below the 2011 peak of $9.5. As shown in Figure 4, no new flex space has been delivered since the market downturn. Since 2006, the corridor experienced average annual gross absorption of 196,000 square feet and negative net absorption of 47,000 square feet per year. While sites are available for flex use along the corridor, developers are hesitant to move forward unless they are able to find an end user.


HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor





The retail market has strengthened, as evidenced by low vacancy. The corridor contains over 7.5 million square feet of retail space, with a 5% vacancy rate (360,000 square feet), in line with pre-recession levels. The $12.9 per square foot annual rental rate, however, remains below the 2007 peak of $15.7. Since 2006, the corridor experienced average annual gross absorption of 320,000 square feet and net absorption of 1,000 square feet per year. Since 2010, the pace of net absorption has increased to approximately 70,000 square feet per year.

New development illustrates the strength of the corridor as a choice retail location, though some observers noted it may be reaching a saturation point. The largest, most recent delivery was a Super Target at Commerce Hill in 2011. More development is expected in Woodbury, including a new Costco, Cabela’s, Woodbury Plaza, and the expected build-out of the remaining retail pads at Commerce Hill. Because the market now features most retail chains and a spectrum of retail options, some interviewees  suggested that there remains little opportunity to absorb new retail development.

Figure 5. Retail Delivery, Absorption, and Vacancy, 2006-2014



 HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor





HR&A analyzed the Metropolitan Council’s 2010 and 2030 employment estimates for the corridor. Figure 6 presents a summary of current and projected employment along the corridor. The study area consists of transportation analysis zones located within a roughly 1-mile buffer of the 1-94 corridor and approximate the alignments under consideration as of May 2014. Exhibit B presents a map of the traffic analysis zones HR&A affiliated with each alignment. Exhibit C presents a table of the employment estimates separated into retail versus non-retail jobs, by alignment.

Figure 6. Metropolitan Council Employment Estimates, 2010-2030


The D and E alignments represent a small portion of jobs along the corridor, most of which are in downtown Saint Paul or at 3M.
In current conditions, D1-E1 alignment (south of I-94) provides access to more jobs, but by 2030, the D2-E3 alignment (north of 1-94) may end up providing access to more jobs. The D1 -E1 alignment provides access to 68,200 jobs, only slightly more than other options and reflects the concentration of retail jobs that can be found at Tamarack Village and Woodbury Lakes Shopping Center, and non-retail jobs at Crossroads Commerce Center, all south of 1-94. By 2030, D2-E3 will provide access to 1,000 more jobs than D1, likely reflecting the anticipated build-out of development sites such as The Oaks Business Park in Oakdale, Eagle Point Business Park in Lake Elmo and other  greenfield sites to the east. It is important to keep in mind that the A. B. and C alignments in areas such as  downtown Saint Paul and 3M make up the vast majority of jobs on the corridor and that the D and E alignments make up roughly only 5% of employment on the corridor.

 While the D2-E3 alignment may end up providing access to more jobs, the magnitude oand pace of employment uses (office, industrial, flex and retail) is uncertain. Based on the findings from the market analysis, the timing and development is unknown, and may not occur in tandem with deployment of transit service, particularly in E3 where business park sites are further from the core of the metro area and may not develop in the near-term given market conditions.

Transit will be an amenity, but not a driver, for future employment areas on the D and E alignments. While office, industrial, and flex tenants in East Metro value transit access as an amenity, developers do not anticipate the provision of transit to accelerate development in the near-term.

The realization of future employment will hinge on local decisions (Lake Elmo for E3, Woodbury for El) for fostering development. The timing of development will be contingent on municipal commitment to infrastructure investment, zoning policy, and the potential provision of incentives for attracting development and/or employers.


D2 provides greenfield conditions where new development can be shaped into TOD, whereas Dl would require redevelopment to create TOD. Along the D*1 alignment, redevelopment economics are challenging due to the need for higher rents to offset the costs of demolition, lost income during the construction period, and the cost of new construction. In contrast, the D2 alignment presents a lower barrier to development as it contains greenfield sites at Eagle Point Business Park and areas further east. At those sites, development could be designed at medium to high densities and oriented towards new transit.

However, creating TOD-style development on D2 will require a change in land use plans, improved market conditions, and sustained public commitment to realize development. Some of the sites on 02 are already planned without accounting for a transit line or station area. Modifying plans for TOD will require policy and landowner commitment to increase density and orient plans towards transit. Developers will also need confidence that they can achieve a return on investment. Public investments in station area public realm and/or provision of incentives can improve development feasibility.

The E alignments present an opportunity for TOD by shaping greenfield sites into TOD. These alignments face challenges similar to D2, and may require a longer time frame to realize TOD-style development. To the north of 1-94, the City of Lake Elmo envisions mixed uses and higher densities through rezoning and the provision of new infrastructure. To the south of 1-94, the City of Woodbury envisions office and industrial uses, with limited to no residential, although the largest property owner in that area – has expressed openness to building TOD.

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor



DI and D2 offer comparable job access. D2 offers an opportunity to orient new employment uses towards transit, but development economics are uncertain. D2 features greenfield sites that could be developed with employment uses that are physically oriented towards transit, but, development economics require stronger market conditions and public policy commitment to creating an attractive station area and/or incentivizing development. Without development on D2, Dl would continue to offer marginally more lobs than D2.

The area north of 1-94 has more ingredients in place for transit-friendly development. The area south of 1-94 is located in Woodbury, which has a successful track record for fostering development. Lake Elmo has committed much of the area north of 1-94 to transit-friendly development (mixed uses, medium density), whereas Woodbury does not foresee residential uses south of 1-94. However, Woodbury has a track record for attracting developers and may be able to develop that area quicker and more completely.


A double-loaded corridor, with development on both sides of potential station areas, will support more ridership and provide a more attractive environment for TOD. As opposed to a singleloaded corridor (development on one-side and landscape or 1-94 on the other side of the road), a double-loaded corridor will allow for complete station areas and maximize the place-making effect of new transit stations. ft can also support ridership by increasing the number of employment and residential areas within walking distance of transit.

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor







2010 2030
Alignments Total Retail Non-Retail Total Retail Non-Retail
A-8-C-D1-E1 68,200 7,900 60,300 120,800 8,500 112,300
A-B-C-D2-E2 64,800 5,550 59,250 120,300 5,900 114.400
A-B-C-D2-E3 64,900 5,550 59,350 121,800 5,800 116,000
A-B-C-02 64,700 5,550 59,150 114,100 5,200 108,900


SourcE HR&A Advisors, Metropolitan Council

5) The D and E alignments represent a small portion of jobs along the corridor, most of which are in downtown St. Paul or at 3M. It is important to keep in mind that the A,B, and C alignments in areas such as downtown St. Paul and 3M make up the vast majority of jobs on the corridor and that the D and E alignments make up roughly only 5% of employment on the corridor.


HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor





Source: CoStar Group



Study areas comprise of Metropolitan Council traffic analysis zones. E2 comprises of the area cross­hatched on the map, representing the crossover 1-94.


Source: ESRI, Metropolitan Council





2010 2030
Alignments Total Retail Non-Retail Total Retail Non-Retail
A-B-C-D1-E 1 68,200 7,900 60,300 120,800 8,500 1 12,300
A-B-C-D2-E2 64,800 5,550 59,250 120,300 5,900 114,400
A-B-C-02-E3 64,900 5,550 59,350 121,800 5,800 116,000
A-B-C-D2 64,700 5,550 59,150 1 14,1 00 5,200 108,900


Source: 1-1R&A. Advisors, Metropolitan Council





HR&A conducted interviews with the following people, either in-person or by phone, in April and May 2014.


  • Tony Barranco, Ryan Companies, April 10, by phone
  • David Johnson, Mike Conners, Crossroads Properties, April 17, in-person
  • Kit Richardson, Schafer Richardson, April 17, in-person
  • Alan Dale, Stonehenge Properties, April 18, in-person
  • Robert Engstrom, Robert Engstrom Companies, April 18, in-person
  • Lee Krueger, Saint Paul Port Authority, April 18, in-person
  • Matt Alexander, Kraus-Anderson Realty, April 29, by phone
  • Matt Van Slooten, Kim Hofstede, Carlson Real Estate Company, May 1, by phone


  • Dean Zuleger, Kyle Klatt, City of Lake Elmo, April 15, in-person
  • Dwight Picha, Janelle Schmitz, John Bradford, Eric Searles, City of Woodbury, April 15, in-person
  • Dan Kyllo, Dave Schultz, Steve Ebner, Dave Dupay, Ed Gorman, Ben Gozola, West Lakeland Township, April 18, in-person
  • Dave Gontarek, Bill Dermody, City of Saint Paul, April 16, in-person
  • Melinda Coleman, Michael Thompson, Tom Ekstrand, City of Maplewood, April 17, in-person
  • Bob Streetar, City of Oakdale, April 18, in-person
  • Michael Ericson, City of Landfall, April 22, by phone



The corridor is an attractive residential market, particularly for single-family housing. The real estate development community believes households in the market in this area have a preference for single-family residential housing options. Households move to East Metro to find a recently built home at a lower price point than West Metro communities offering a similar commute time to job centers like downtown Minneapolis.

Some developers believe that transit can be an amenity and differentiator for residential development, but is unlikely to catalyze medium density TOD. With transit, some developers would be interested in increasing density and reorienting site plans towards proposed station. Other developers felt that the proposed transit line will be underused and of marginal benefit, at least in the near to medium term. Developers in the latter group perceive a challenging track record for non-traditional development in East Metro and do not see transit as a differentiator for the corridor versus other parts of the Twin Cities.

While demand for TODstyle development is increasing in the Twin Cities region, It remains an untested product along the corridor. Medium density, mixed-use development has primarily occurred in established areas such as Downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul, University Avenue, Uptown, and other neighborhoods with a strong amenity base and access to employment centers. This type of urban development is largely untested along the Gateway Corridor with the notable exception of City Walk in Woodbury. The project experienced difficulty in its initial sales period and developers are skeptical of demand for a similar product. Some developers are receptive to multifamily housing and have focused on lower density townhomes, albeit at a much smaller volume than single-family homes.

3M is driving factor in the local real estate market. Suppliers to 3M and spinoff from 3M make up a sizable component of office and flex market demand. Despite recent investments in R&D facilities in Maplewood, many do not anticipate 3M-related demand to grow.

The economics of office and flex development remain challenging. Flat rents and the availability of space in existing properties suggest the office and flex market have limited nearterm potential.

Developers question the feasibility of medium density TOD even with the advent of transit service. Developers have several concerns about the Gateway Corridor:

  • Limited in-place amenities and destinations
  • Untested market for multifamily housing
  • Weak recovery and available inventory of vacant office and industrial space
  • Significant opportunities exist in other parts of the Twin Cities for TOD-style development
  • Municipalities along the corridor have a wide-ranging track record for supporting development, particularly at higher densities

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor



  • Rapid transit will be beneficial to employees commuting from the East Metro to Eagle Point Business Park and residents commuting to 3M or downtown Saint Paul The Lake Elmo Park Reserve also attracts 250,000 visitors a year and may contribute to ridership.
  • Resident currently use park-and-ride transit service to reach downtown Minneapolis. The City would like to see this service continue to be available in addition to the Gateway Corridor,
  • The D2 alignment will be an amenity for property owners on that alignment. Many of those sites are vacant and can be shaped by transit.
  • The City is proposing a new east-west street between Hudson Boulevard and 10th Street, tentatively named 5th Street The City believes that a Hudson Boulevard alignment will be more valuable to commercial uses along the corridor.
  • The City has had a growth moratorium for several years. However, the new City Council recognizes the need for growth and plans to extend utilities to designated areas along the corridor over time.
  • New development will be concentrated along the 1-94 corridor. The newly adopted comprehensive plan calls for medium-density residential and commercial along the 1-94 corridor, with the goal of preserving the rural nature of Lake Elmo north of 10th Street.
  • The City has established an Economic Development Authority and will be proposing a TIF district in the fall. The new City Council wants to be accommodating to development and is pursuing tools like T1F to compete for future development.
  • Over 1,200 residential units, largely single-family, are planned over the next 5-7 years. Most residential product is proposed to be single family with sales price ranging from $500,000­$700,000.

City of Woodbury

  • Residents currently use park-and-ride transit service to reach downtown Minneapolis. A number of residents use park-and-ride facilities located at Woodbury Village and Guardian’s Angels Church in Oakdale to reach Minneapolis. The City is interested in maintaining this service in addition to the Gateway Corridor.
  • Woodbury households are likely to be choice commuters that own cars and work across the Twin They benefit from express bus service to Minneapolis for commuters that do not want to drive in traffic and avoid the high cost of parking. A multi-stop connection to 3M and downtown Saint Paul may not be as popular,

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor


  • Woodbury has been a success story in attracting investment. Woodbury benefits from its location and accessibility to the rest of the metropolitan area. The City features many attractive sites with fewer redevelopment challenges than other communities on the corridor. The City encourages development by offering flexible zoning and to a limited degree, incentives. Incentives include tax-increment financing and property tax abatements, both are used rarely.
  • The City prefers the D2 alignment, so as not to impact traffic conditions at Radio Drive and impede existing development.
  • The City prefers an alignment south of 1-94 to add value to the business park uses envisioned for that area, which is mostly undeveloped. The City is restricting residential development in the vicinity of the southern E alignment and plans to focus residential growth further south.
  • The City recognizes the challenging office market and sees potential for flex development, particularly along the southern E alignment.
  • While significant retail development is underway, additional supply beyond that may not be The City is home to approximately 4.5 million square feet of retail space with 98% occupancy. The most recent development is Cabela’s, which will open its only East Metro store in early 2014. There is additional demand for retail but City Council is concerned with saturation and is looking to limit new retail development in favor of office use.
  • Single-family demand is strong and has recovered quickly since the recession. Multifamily development is rare with CityWalk being the only major development in recent years. City staff believe that demand is not strong enough to support additional multifamily development in The demographic interested high-density living is generally attracted to Downtown or Uptown in Minneapolis or downtown Saint Paul.

West Lakeland Township

  • The Township believes a park and ride near Manning Avenue can spur new mixed-use development envisioned for that area. West Lakeland is planning for mixed-use development (office, flex, and residential) in the northeast corner of Manning Avenue and Hudson Boulevard.
  • East Metro is attractive for commuters looking for single-family homes, particularly for new
  • Residential development in West Lakeland has been very limited over the past decade. The Township is a relatively small community and added an average of 50 to 60 single-family homes per year before the recession, with much less development since the recession. Virtually all new housing has been high-end single-family homes, priced above $500,000.

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor


City of Saint Paul

  • Job access for East St. Paul residents should be a key criteria in making alignment and station The City does not yet have a preference for Dl or D2, but prefers the alignment which connects to the highest number of existing and projected jobs.
  • The corridor is currently zoned for primarily residential uses except for the area around Sun Ray shopping center where the City has zoned for mixed-use development. The City expects higher density around station areas but is seeking input on the highest and best use.
  • Lowertown has emerged as a mixed-use entertainment district, with further development Redevelopment has accelerated in recent years, coinciding with investments in the public realm and renovation of the St. Paul Union Depot. New development includes rentals, condominiums, and hotel uses, including the proposed conversion of the former U.S. Post Office building to hotel and residential uses and the recent opening of a Lunds grocery store. The City anticipates that the opening of the Green Line and Saints ballpark will further increase activity and market demand in the neighborhood.
  • Sun Ray is a community asset but may offer opportunity for redevelopment. The retail at Sun Ray is an important community asset and complements other civic facilities nearby including the library and recreation center. It can serve as an anchor for a station area, and there may be opportunities to further invest in the property with the advent of transit.
  • The proposed station at Mounds should connect with major destinations but has limited opportunity The proposed station is near Metropolitan State University and its Science Center. A quality pedestrian connection can support ridership on the Gateway Corridor. Students can be more easily linked to opportunities at 3M and downtown St. Paul. The surrounding area is a historic district and may not provide opportunity to large-scale redevelopment.
  • Proposed stations White Bear, Etna, and Earl may provide limited opportunities for higher-density There have been proposals for a hotel and senior housing near White Bear though progress is uncertain. Access to Metro94 is critical as it is a fully occupied property and a source of jobs.

City of Maplewood

  • The City would like the station at 3M campus to be an asset for City residents in addition to a gateway for 3M. They believe connectivity to the part of Maplewood south of 1-94 can be helpful in achieving that.
  • The Gateway Corridor offers value to 3M in that it allows them to connect to a younger workforce that may be living in Lowertown or other transit-connected areas and allows business travelers to stay at hotels in downtown Saint Paul and easily travel to campus. The City strongly recommended HR&A speak with 3M representatives to better understand 3M’s campus plans and how it may benefit from the Gateway Corridor.

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor

  • A portion of the area along Tanners Lake falls within Maplewood’s boundaries. They are open to redevelopment of that area in partnership with the City of Oakdale.

City of Oakdale

  • Oakdale sees the Gateway Corridor as an important amenity for City residents and the development that would align the transitway. Many City residents already use the park-and-ride at Guardian Angels church to reach downtown Minneapolis.
  • The City prefers a station along 4 Street, but one that is visible and accessible to City residents in addition to tenants of the Oaks development.
  • The Oaks is a business park that features recently built office and flex space with sites available for development. The City believes the Gateway Corridor will help to differentiate the Oaks from other business parks.
  • There are other development opportunities that could be served by transit depending on station location decisions including the vacant property west of 1-694, at the Crossroads, and infill on parking lots along the alignment.
  • At Oak Marsh Goff Course, a hotel development is underway that may cater to 3M visitors. The Gateway Corridor could be an important amenity for that protect.

City of Landfall

  • Landfall is a small community that is an important source of affordable housing in East Metro. While many residents use transit, many residents also own cars.
  • While there are some residents who commute to downtown Saint Paul, it is not necessarily the primary place of employment for Landfall residents.
  • There are two motorcycle dealerships in Landfall that are important economic development assets for the City, They should be considered in planning the alignment and any station area in Landfall.



HR&A Advisors, Inc. | Gateway Corridor

Political Hack @ December 17, 2014