Long-Stalled Wayzata Bay Center Project Picks Up Steam

The redevelopment of the Wayzata Bay Center has seen significant delays, but the initial phase of construction is now slated to begin in May.

The long-anticipated and delayed redevelopment of the Wayzata Bay Center appears set to begin.

Roseville-based Presbyterian Homes & Services said Friday that it has received all necessary city approvals and financing to move forward with construction of the mixed-use project, which will be called The Promenade at Wayzata.

Talks of the redevelopment have been occurring since at least early 2007. Presbyterian Homes in 2008 announced the purchase of the property, a former wetland that was filled in during the 1960s and developed into the Wayzata Bay Center-a shopping complex on a 14-acre site located at Superior Boulevard and Lake Street in downtown Wayzata.

The company said at that time that development was scheduled to start in spring 2009 and was supposed to be finished by the fall of 2010. In early 2009, however, the project was delayed due to the economic downturn.

In late 2010, Presbyterian Homes said it had made its last payment for the property and that the initial phase would be completed in mid-2012, but the project was again pushed back.

The company said Friday that demolition will begin shortly, and construction is scheduled to begin in early May on a portion of the development that will include 32,000 square feet of “premium retail” space, as well as the first phase of the Folkestone senior housing community, including about 250 housing units. This initial phase is slated for completion in fall 2014.

Wayzata City Council Member Andrew Mullin said in a statement that several “green” elements that were initially expected to be incorporated in later construction phases-such as a play area and landscaped walkways-will now occur during the first phase.

John Mehrkens, vice president of project development, said in a statement that more than 80 percent of the units in the first two apartment buildings have already been reserved, and “leasing efforts are also proceeding well for the retail elements of the project with demand picking up as the economy continues to improve.”

According to a report by Finance & Commerce, the first construction phase is expected to cost about $125 million, while the total cost of the development is an estimated $225 million. The schedule for the second phase of construction has not yet been determined.

Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray is underwriting the financing for the senior housing portion of the project. It will issue housing revenue bonds to be sold to institutional and retail buyers.