Burnsville planners embraced a proposal this week to divide up Burnsville Center’s property into new lots that’ll be marketed for redevelopment.
The move could mark the first step towards transformational redevelopment at the aging mall property.
The mall changed hands last year when Kohan Retail Investment Group took control of the 47-acre property after purchasing the property’s debt at auction.
The mall’s anchor stores were not included in the transaction.
On Monday, the Burnsville Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval to the city council of a proposal by Burnsville Center Capital Holding LLC to subdivide the mall property and sell off parcels for redevelopment.
In a letter to city officials, a representative of the mall’s owner said selling off portions of the property will aid the repayment of investors and help the mall achieve financial stability.
During Monday’s meeting, Felix Reznick with 4th Dimension Properties said the team working to reinvigorate the mall supports the city’s long-term vision to draw high-density, mixed-use redevelopment.
The Sears property, not controlled by the mall’s owner, is likely the best spot for apartments, according to Reznick.
“You need to be active and creative with these types of properties,” he said. “In the last, I’d say, three years we’ve been able to bring a lot of interesting uses to these properties, including multi-family, mixed-use, which I think will work very well over here.”
In 2018, the city enlisted Minneapolis-based Damon Farber Landscape Architects and several other consultants to reimagine the aging mall property and set the stage for redevelopment.
The mall — once the crown jewel of retail in the south metro after its grand opening in 1977 — had its reputation punctured with vast empty parking lots, liquidation sales and the closing of Sears.
The Center Village Redevelopment Vision, adopted by city officials in 2019, maps out the city’s long-term vision for redevelopment and revitalization of the commercial corridor along County Road 42.
Enhanced green-space, walkability and smaller-scale retailers are some key elements of the design.
In a letter to city officials, Reznick said the proposed subdivisions are a first step towards accomplishing the principals of the Center Village plan.
“I’m really excited to see this move forward and I really appreciate you working with the city and doing what we can to make this a very viable property,” Planning Commission Chair Chris John said during Monday’s meeting. “I think that’s really important for the city.”
The proposal headed to the Burnsville City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 21 carves out new parcels to be sold off separately.
Under the plan, the Shogun restaurant and Wells Fargo bank would be divided into separate lots. The mall building and some of its existing parking spaces, Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Jared Jewelry property would also each sit on their own lot.
Additionally, a portion of the parking lot currently used by a seasonal garden center would be redeveloped into a drive-thru restaurant. A contract is currently under negotiation with a franchise, according to planning documents.
Reznick said transformational redevelopment takes time, but the Burnsville property offers a lot of potential and a great location.
“This is exciting to see this move ahead,” said Burnsville Planning Commissioner Ali Awad. “It’s the first step in really achieving the vision.”