Calhoun Sq. Expansion Approved as Retail-Only

Calhoun Square's expansion was approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission without any conditions for future development into a mixed-use building.

The Minneapolis Planning Commission on Monday approved plans to expand Calhoun Square as a retail-only building despite concerns from local residents and a recent commitment to include structural components for a second-story expansion.

John Schupp, senior vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle-the building's management company-said Wednesday that the developers plan on moving forward with their original plan, which only includes retail space that will house a CB2 store, a furniture and accessory store operated by Crate and Barrel.

Last month, Calhoun Square developers submitted a letter to the commission stating that they would include necessary structural components to their new development that would allow for future second-story additions to make the building mixed-use with office space.

But, Schupp said that the market does not warrant building a mixed-use development at this time. Calhoun Square has previously cited economic conditions for the reason it is not moving forward with the mixed-use development. Schupp said plans could change, but that it's likely that the plans, which will be finalized in the next month, will ultimately only include retail space.

The letter followed concerns from the Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG), which opposed the original plan because of the fact that it was designated as a retail-only building. The group instead favors a mixed-use structure for the site, like the one that the City of Minneapolis approved in 2008, which included five stories with a combination of retail and residential space.

In October, CARAG Executive Coordinator Scott Engel said that the proposed one-story building does not follow guidelines created two years ago in the city's Uptown Small Area Plan, which discourages the development of one-story, single-use buildings.

A Wednesday afternoon phone call to Ken Seifert, general manager of Calhoun Square, was not immediately returned.

In addition, a phone call to Engel to get CARAG's reaction to the approved plan was not immediately returned.

The actions of the planning commission are not final until a 10-day appeal period expires on December 23. The project will only move forward to the city council if it is appealed. As of Wednesday, December 15, no appeals had been filed.