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ST. LOUIS PARK, MN-The city has given Bader Development preliminary approval to build a $30 million new mixed-use project here on a redeveloped site. The company wants to build a five-story, 132-unit apartment project with some retail, on a 2.3-acre parcel that holds an historic bar and a cleaners. Scott Bader, president of the company, tells GlobeSt.com that he expects to earn final approval for the project, to be called the Ellipse on Excelsior, in January.

The five story building will have 16,000 square feet of retail on the first floor, and apartments on floors two through five. Bader says he’s still working on financing, but that he hopes to start construction after January and be finished by June 2010. Al’s Bar, at one time a speakeasy during Prohibition, and Anderson Cleaners will be torn down.

His company has built a few other projects in the Twin Cities area, such as the 100-unit Cornelia Place Apartment Homes in Edina and the 164-unit Waterstone Place in Minnetonka. Bader admits that the economy has made the market somewhat soft, but says he has a special place in his heart for this property for a few years. “This location has been a particular favorite of mine, and when the opportunity came up to buy it, I jumped at it,” Bader says. He has the site under contract. The city is considering to start a TIF fund for the project, and will discuss the incentive in January.

Not many developers are building right now, he says, which could be perfect for him if things improve, Bader says. “I think we’ll get a turnaround as we get into 2010, I think the timing will be good,” he says. A planned Southwest Corridor light-rail line is supposed to go near the property, Bader says.

The firm hasn’t started marketing the property yet, he says. His company has a partnership contract for management with Steven Scott Management, which has a portfolio of 7,000 units managed in the Twin Cities area.

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