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ST. LOUIS PARK, MN-TOLD Development Co. says it recently started construction on Excelsior & Grand, a mixed-use project on 15 acres on Excelsior Boulevard and just east of Minnesota Highway 100. On completion, the $120-million project will consist of 625 rental housing units, 35 condominiums, more than 77,000 sf of retail space and 45,000 sf of office space.

The first phase, which is expected to be done in the fall of next year, will consist of 345 housing units and 65,000 sf of retail space, and will cost anestimated $63 million. The four-story building in the first phase will feature retail and restaurant space on the ground level with housing above that. Theproject includes two parking structures, underground residential parking and on-street parking.

The project is intended to create an environment friendly both to cars and pedestrians, and will focus on a 2.5-acre central boulevard and town green. St. Louis Park Mayor Jeff Jacobs says he thinks the project will “revitalize Excelsior Boulevard and become our Downtown, something we have not had in the past.”

The project is another in a line of attempts by Twin Cities suburbs to create a “downtown atmosphere” in a suburban shopping and housing environment. The architects on the project are Minneapolis-based Elness Swenson Graham Architects Inc. Bor-Son Construction Inc., Minneapolis, is the general contractor and Great Lakes Management will lease and manage the residential units.

The project is being financed through $18 million in tax increment bonds, which was used to buy and clear the site, as well as $2.8 million in “Livable Communities” grants from the Metropolitan Council.

TOLD came in after a previous developer – AvalonBay Communities, based in Virginia, withdrew from the redevelopment a little more than a year ago.

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