TONKA BAY — There are preliminary plans to redevelop part of the Tonka Village Shopping Center to include roughly 125 multifamily housing units.

Tony Kuechle, senior vice president of development for Doran Development, presented the initial concept for the redevelopment at 5609 Manitou Road to the Tonka Bay City Council on Nov. 13.

As the project is currently designed, it would call for the northern half of the shopping center — north of Hazellewood Grill & Tap Room — to be demolished in order to build four, four-story multifamily housing structures. Each building would have about 30 units, with two-story townhomes and one- and two-bedroom apartments available. The rental price for the apartments would be market price, likely ranging from $1,600 to upward of $4,000 a month, Kuechle said at the meeting.

Other features of the project include:

  • One-lane roads to access the back of the complex.
  • Open green space and pathways between the buildings.
  • Underground parking for the four housing buildings.
  • An on-site leasing office in a separate building, with a fitness facility and a clubroom.
  • Demolishing the portion of the shopping center north of Hazellewood Grill, but then add onto the existing restaurant.
  • Improve stormwater standards in the area (currently there are none).

Kuechle said the idea behind the design is to create a “walkable community to help leverage the existing retail that’s there and create, essentially, a small community.”

The current tenants in the portion of the building that would be demolished would be able to relocate to the remaining portion of the building if they wish, Kuechle said.

The plans would not affect Country Club Lanes, which would share a surface parking lot with the new development, as well as have its own reserved spots.

Parking, traffic concerns

The presentation brought numerous public comments from Tonka Bay residents. Many were concerned about the availability of parking at the shopping center and how the new multifamily housing project would affect the already congested roads nearby, such as the intersection of County Road 19 and Highway 7.

Members of the City Council also expressed concerns about parking and traffic.

A traffic study is being conducted, and Mayor Gerry De La Vega pointed out Country Road 19 is under the jurisdiction of Hennepin County so he suggested the city work with District 6 Commissioner Jan Callison and the neighboring city of Shorewood about how to mitigate all the traffic congestion in the area.

Next steps?

The City Council presentation was the first in many steps for the project. The developers still have to submit an application to the city, and then there will be multiple public hearings on the proposed project, city leaders explained.

Doran Development plans to take the feedback it has received from residents and the City Council into account when it revises its plan for the project.

Melissa Turtinen is the multimedia reporter for Lakeshore Weekly News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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