Plans to redevelop Savage’s last cow farm will go before city planners this month.
City officials haven’t yet said whether they’ll financially support the proposal’s main attraction, a year-round curling center.
Developer and builder Greg Schweich, president of Prior Lake-based Copper Creek, wants to build an entertainment and recreation hub called The Crossings on the northwest corner of County Roads 42 and 27.
The 18-acre hobby farm, owned by the Loftus family, is all that remains of a once 600-acre farm dating back to the early 1800s.
Mike Stout, a consultant on the project with Tamarack Consulting Group, said the curling center would be the largest year-round curling facility in the country and draw national and international competitions
“We’ll put a worldwide spotlight on the city of Savage,” he said.
The plans also include four buildings for a medical clinic and other businesses.
The preliminary development plan, which includes land use and design details, is up for review by the Savage Planning Commission on Dec. 19 and the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Commission on Dec. 23. A City Council vote could follow in January.
The proposal’s six-sheet curling center will hinge on getting financial support from the city, such as a tax abatement, Stout said. That decision will come after analysis work commissioned by the city is complete.
Savage Mayor Janet Williams said Monday city officials can’t comment on the proposal because they haven’t seen the plans yet.
Request for public dollars
Stout first presented the idea of city support to the council at a work session in June; the council hasn’t formally discussed it since.
City officials requested money from the developer for an economic and market feasibility study by the city’s financial consultant, Baker Tilly. City Administrator Brad Larson this week said the analysis hasn’t started yet because the city hasn’t received the requested escrow.
Stout said the developer plans to get the work rolling before the end of the month. The work could take around six weeks to complete in time for a Council vote on financial assistance in February or March.
Larson said the analysis will help city officials determine if the curling market is too saturated to be successful in Savage and how many dollars would go into the partnership.
There are 29 curling clubs statewide with 8 locations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, according to the state-operated travel site Explore Minnesota. There was just one in 2010, the historic St. Paul Curling Club.
As new clubs opened doors nearby in recent years, the St. Paul Curling Club’s memberships didn’t decline, demonstrating a revival in the sport, MinnPost reported in 2016.
Blaine’s Four Seasons Curling Club at Fogerty Arena and the Chaska Curling Center were the first two clubs in the nation to stay open year-round.
An eight-sheet curling center is being proposed in Stillwater by the St. Croix Curling Center, the Pioneer Press reported this week. The curling officials pointed to the success of Chaska’s facility during their meeting with the Stillwater City Council.
Stout said the land set aside for the curling center will be re-purposed for a different type of commercial development, likely a strip mall, if the city doesn’t support the curling endeavor.
The proposed two-story, 55,500 square-foot center would include a food hall named Our Haus that gives visitors the choice between full-service dining or open seating overlooking the curling center. An outdoor patio with fire pits would be open during the warmer months.
Two event spaces reserved for adults 21 and older would be on the second floor. The plans call for floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the curling center in both venues.
The larger of the two spaces would serve as a live entertainment venue and hold up to 250 guests for private events. The second, more casual venue would offer theater-style TVs and a fireplace.
“With improved wetlands, three new ponds, wandering paths with park benches and functional art, the heart of Savage will become a treasured destination for those who come to work, play, entertain and dine,” the developer states on its website.
The Crossings will open sometime between September 2020 and January 2021 if approved, Stout said.