Northfield News on The Crossing

The Crossing Northfield News reporter Suzy Rook wrote a story this week titled Crossing into a new phase: Development is behind schedule as red tape, housing market cause delays.

One of Northfield’s largest developments, The Crossing, is a project teetering on the edge.
Project developer Mendota Homes has struggled for months to sell its residential and commercial condos, it’s more than $30,000 behind on its property taxes and is considering modifying plans for a second residential structure in a soft housing market.

I’m not going to opinionate much here. My wife and I signed a purchase agreement on a condo in March, 2006, and have opted to not close. But since this development involves public policy and public money, others may want to discuss it.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    I do think that Northfield News reporter Suzy Rook did a good job with a difficult story.

    January 18, 2008
  2. Dianne Kyte said:

    I would like to make a comment about “The Crossing” Condo Development and the Northfield News’ recent story. My husband and I have been living in our new Mendota Homes Condo facing the Cannon River since April and LOVE IT! There are a total of 15 units being lived in and I think that I speak for all of us. Are we concerned about the drastic slow-down in the housing market? Of Course! Do we all wish that the first building was full so that Mendota Homes could proceed with their original plans? Of Course! Living right Downtown was a dream that Charlie and I had ever since we moved to Northfield almost 20 years ago. Having Mendota Homes provide us with the opportunity to fulfill that dream is amazing! I am confident that the entire project will eventually be completed – most definitely not in the time frame originally outlined, but eventually!!

    January 18, 2008
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Glad you chimed in, Dianne. Was there anything in the article that you take issue with?

    January 18, 2008
  4. Dianne Kyte said:

    Griff, I think that Suzanne was a little ambiguous with her reference that “Several residents have voiced concern about the project and its viability”. I assume that she is referring to ‘Northfield residents’ and not current residents of The Crossing – but she does not make that clear-the only persons that she quotes are Mayor Lee Lansing, who declined to comment for this article, and Brian O’Connell, who seems to have an optimistic attitude about the project. I think that she muddies the waters with the issue of the unpaid property taxes and the TIF financing for developing the site. Otherwise, I think that it fairly describes the situation.

    Dianne Kyte

    January 18, 2008
  5. Most condos developments take time to sell the condos and all, and I am in no way in favor of bailing them out at this point.

    January 18, 2008
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    In today’s editorial in the Northfield News re: The Crossing: City shouldn’t bear cleanup costs.

    MnDOT has said that it will begin the process of transferring the property to the city once its environmental assessment is done, although MnDOT will not clean up any contamination, nor pay for it. So, while the city should continue to work with Mendota, it should do so cautiously. Residents should not bear the burden of paying for the cleanup of the contaminated parcels, nor should the city be left with ownership of polluted land it can’t sell.

    Dianne, when did you learn about the contamination on the site, and from whom? And do you agree with the editorial’s position?

    January 19, 2008
  7. Diane – though most in Northfield know, I think that you should disclose your interest in the real estate market! and many more…

    What does it mean to current residents if the project “isn’t viable” and goes south? I’ve passed by the huge project in Cannon Falls with just a few occupied units, and the “for sale” sign has been taken down. In Red Wing, a large school was condoized and sits vacant, I’ve never seen lights on at night (though there might be somone living there). All of these projects have one thing in common: new construction with astronomical prices! The market just isn’t there, no matter how rosy you try to paint it. W”ho can afford it? And I just remembered the upscale golf course project in Lake City that went belly up… NO, the city shouldn’t be left holding the bag. The joys of corporate limited liability — the project developers should be on the hook.

    Contamination — another thought — has the dry cleaner contamination draining towards the river, has that been cleaned up? There was a meeting on that project years ago and I’ve not heard anything since.

    January 20, 2008
  8. Griff Wigley said:

    Nfld News reporter Suzy Rook posted this today at 1PM: Environmental review of Crossing site could take 3 months.

    Christine Hernandez with MnDOT’s public affairs office said Wednesday that the property, near the northeast corner of Second and Highway 3, is the site of an old gas station, which may be contaminated… ­Earlier this week, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials said they believed the land has high concentrations of lead from an old foundry on the site.


    January 21, 2008
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Carol, I’ve not heard anything about dry cleaner contamination draining towards the river. Do you have any details on that?

    Hwy 3 construction adjacent to The Crossing during the summer of 2005 was halted due to soil and water contamination.

    • Nfld News, July 13, 2005: Construction slows on TH 3

      “Construction on Minnesota Highway 3 was slowed last week due to ground water contamination, according to project officials. Ground water tested from the site was found to have high enough levels of gasoline in it to be treated. Officials are unsure how the contamination occurred but say the situation is being treated.”
    •  Nfld News, July 13, 2005: Highway 3 will open for DJJD­

      “The delays were caused by water and soil contamination and significantly higher volumes of bad soil than expected,” said Heidi Hamilton, Northfield’s city engineer and public work coordinator.­

    So if this contamination on The Crossing is from the same source as that which contaminated Hwy 3, it would seem that MNDOT should have known that their small parcels within The Crossing site would be contaminated, too, since underground water flows towards the Cannon from this location.

    January 21, 2008
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    In yesterday’s Nfld News on The Crossing: Soil cleanup could take until June ’09.

    Minnesota Department of Transportation officials estimate it could take until June to finish cleaning up two small parcels on the site and transfer them to the city. The city is then obligated to sell those properties to Mendota Homes, The Crossing’s developers.

    The contamination was no surprise to MnDOT and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials. The land, near the corner of Hwy. 3 and Second Street, is the site of an old foundry and was once home to a gas station, Kristine Hernandez, with MnDOT’s public affairs office, said earlier this year.

    August 24, 2008
  11. kiffi summa said:

    Unless I read too fast and missed it, the article in Saturday’s NFNews did not say WHO pays for the cleanup. So, my question is : WHO pays for the cleanup???
    I know the EDA already paid for a (supposed) clean up, some years ago.

    Why does it still need cleaning up? Who pays? and how does this affect the “resolve” on this troubled property?

    August 25, 2008

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