I was surprised when I read the article in this week’s Northfield News titled MnDOT holds up Crossing: Right-of-way sale delays Hwy 3 project. (This particular story does NOT require a subscription/login to read.)
(Full disclosure/shameless self-promotion: my wife and I have money down on a condo there. Open house this weekend! Finder’s Fee! Operators are standing by. Not available in stores!)
My understanding was that, like nearly all new condo and mixed-use developments in the state, The Crossing is struggling. (See this Strib article from last week as an example of the problems with mixed-use developments.) Mendota Homes has sold or have commitments on 18-20 of the condo units. They’ve sold 2 of the retail condos. They’ve been shopping the idea of a hotel for the development instead of constructing the second 55-unit condo building. Northfield News reporter Suzanne Rook writes:
Mendota Homes, developers of the 4.64-acre property at the corner of Second Street and Minnesota Highway 3, can’t begin the second phase of its multi-million dollar construction project until the Minnesota Department of Transportation sells the company a couple of small parcels near the center of the development. The property was purchased by MnDOT a few years ago as part of the Highway 3 widening. That project wrapped up last fall, about the time The Crossing’s Phase II was to begin. Northfield’s Community Development Director Brian O’Connell said the city’s well aware of Mendota’s predicament and has agreed to press MnDOT into selling its excess right-of-way. Mendota, O’Connell said, “can’t move forward with the second phase until they get the land.”
I don’t object to Mendota Homes trying to put a positive spin on a sluggish development. (Here’s a May 1 press release titled Quaint college town south of Minneapolis prides itself on cows, colleges, contentment, and condos on the Dolan Media Newswire that really puts the development in glowing terms.) I’d do the same. And as a future condo owner, I have a stake in the development flourishing as soon as possible.
But it seems to me that the Northfield News has not done its job here, that they’ve just taken the company’s characterization of their situation at face value and turned it into a news story without digging deeper. Or am I off-base?