Public Hearing: Rezoning from PCD-3 to PUD, Subdivision and Consideration of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) at 70th & France

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

CLOSED: This item was approved 4-1 on the December 15 City Council meeting.


All comments are reviewed by the governing body to gain insight into community perspective and values. This information in addition to other factors like legal requirements, infrastructure needs, long-term strategy, cost, etc help inform the decision. The feedback collected is not considered a "vote". 

Everyone has the right to share their opinions and comments on the related project. While individuals may have varying opinions, respect each person's experience and insight.

Comments are considered part of the public record. When making a comment:

  1. provide your full name
  2. let us know your relation to the project (i.e. physical address, neighborhood, visit the area often, etc)
  3. respect the views of other participants even if they don't agree with you

If you have questions, please use our Q&A tool.

CLOSED: This item was approved 4-1 on the December 15 City Council meeting.

This item is on the December 15 City Council agenda.

The City Council is asked to consider the EAW for the 7001/7025 France proposal.
On PDF4(Text2) of the EAW, Instruction 6 b. Project Description, requests “Give a complete description of the proposed project and related new construction, including infrastructure needs”. The Response is on PDF5(Text3).
The developer’s 10-16-2020 plans show a curb cut-out on 70th Street, for drop-off, if I am remembering correctly. This curb alteration is not reported in the Response.
Comment submitted Dec. 9, 2020, Roberta Castellano, 4854 France Ave S

Roberta C over 2 years ago

The City Council is asked to consider the EAW for the 7001/7025 France proposal.
On PDF4(Text2) of the EAW, Instruction 6 b. Project Description, requests “Give a complete description of the proposed project and related new construction, including infrastructure needs”. The Response is on PDF5(Text3). The Spack recommendation to add a Right Turn Lane on northbound France, from northbound France onto eastbound 70th Street, is not reported in the Response.
Comment submitted Dec. 9, 2020, Roberta Castellano

Roberta C over 2 years ago

This development is a great addition to Edina. Stunning design and well thought out in a space that can support mixed use buildings. Adding density will strengthen Edina through an increase to our tax base which will further support our superb education and enrich public projects. Glad to see such thoughtful design and development that falls in line with the city councils comprehensive plan!

Becky Q over 2 years ago

I live in Edina and visit this area often to shop, including using the old US Bank branch on this site. I support the project and ask the City to follow the recommendations of its professional staff and approve the requests. This mixed-use development fits in with the surrounding France Avenue corridor and Southdale district. The developers' vision provides the amenities the immediately local and greater Edina communities want and use. The design of the project is aesthetically pleasing, and its potential economic impact is profound. It's the type of development which makes Edina attractive to others.

Dennis Olson over 2 years ago

Since the time is expiring for Comments at BT, I want to make note that I am awaiting a response to a Q&A request that I submitted yesterday (Dec 8) through BT, which I am copying into this Comment entry:
Cary, Thank you for posting the additional document PDFs.
The document “ESG Applicant Presentation at City Council 12-1-20”, begins at Text Page 16, and, therefore, nine (9) introductory pages shown at the meeting are missing, both from the posting at BT and also from the posting in the Coversheet in NovusAgenda. Could you also load these nine pages in both locations? Identified from the meeting video, below are the pages as numbered and the caption on each page. (Note that two of the pages were both numbered as Page 7):
Cover Page (Page 1)-CC Dec 1, 2020 Presentation
Page 2-Project Team
Page 3-Presenters
Page 4-Process To Date And Schedule
Page 5-Southdale Framework
Page 6-Adjacent Sites
Page 7-Discussion Points
Page 7 [sic]-Support Letters
Page 8-Affordable And Diverse
Comment entry date Wed. Dec 9, 2020, Roberta Castellano 4854 France Ave S

Roberta C over 2 years ago

Julie Tanaka in south Minneapolis. I am in favor of continued development to expand opportunities for residence and other stakeholders in the market place. This is an active community that would benefit from continued development and opportunities to showcase the development capabilities of our local community developers Who have the residents best interest in mind. Mortenson is a top-notch developer with a stellar national reputation. I am proud to support their projects and the quality work they provide.

Julie T over 2 years ago

This project should be supported vigorously by Edina residents. This is the corridor for this kind of density and this project will improve on what's there in every way: dynamism, aesthetics, quality housing options and the tax rolls. We should continue to evolve Edina and this project is thoughtful and brings daytime users and residents which is vital to the success of the retail corridor.
Mark Decker, Edina resident and visit the area often

MD4809 over 2 years ago

I ask the City Council (CC) to either deny or delay preliminary approvals pending resolution of the Building Footprint/Floorplate inconsistencies contained in the currently proposed Plans (dated Oct. 16, 2020), and the conflict between the DEG recommendation and the proposed Plans. I have also examined several documents leading up to the present, and would like to share my findings below. If Better Together continues to collapse paragraph spacing, I will also separately email this Comment entry to the CC.

The developer has proposed five (5) floors of Office in the Site B Commercial building.

Quote the DEG: “Building footprints above 60 feet should be no greater than 12,000 SF for residential use and 24,000 SF for commercial space.”

The DEG provides a base by which to compare and discuss the data that has been put forward by various parties. 5 Floors x 24,000 Square Feet (SF) = 120,000 Gross Square Feet (GSF) OFFICE.

For the Sketch review at PC (Sept 9) and CC (Sept 15), the submitted plan document was dated August 24, 2020, with Planning Dept. rec’d date of August 25, 2020. In the Sketch plans, the developer’s narrative was inconsistent with architectural drawings.
On Sketch Plans PDF Page 3, Para. 6, the developer proposed “(Site B) of approximately 160,000 square feet of office space in 5 office stories”. The 160,000 divided by 5 = an average of 32,000 SF per floor. Therefore, at Sketch, the developer was proposing to exceed the DEG recommendation by an average of 8,000 SF per floor, and 40,000 GSF for the five floors combined. This represents 33% more SF than the DEG recommendation.

By contrast, on Sketch Plans PDF 40-41, the developer’s architectural drawings specified 27,000 GSF per floor for Levels 6-7 and 8-10. The 27,000 GSF x 5 floors = 135,000 GSF OFFICE.

The document date for the EAW provided by Cary Teague for PC and CC review is “October 2020”. The EAW is not signed and dated. See the Traffic Study, below.

The Spack Study is dated Oct 14, 2020. On PDF5(Text 1), Spack reports: “The proposed development will include...roughly 152,500 square feet of office uses.”

However, newer versions, dated Sept 23, 2020, of the two Sketch Plan architectural drawings (identified above) are found in the Spack Traffic Study detail, which is contained in the EAW. These drawings continued to represent 27,000 GSF per each of five floors, for a total of 135,000 GSF OFFICE. See PDF99-100 (Text A6-A7) of the EAW.

CARY TEAGUE STAFF REPORT TO PC for PC (Nov 18) and CC (Dec 1) Public Hearings:
On PDF3(Text3) of his staff report, Cary reported that the parking was based, in part, on “the proposal for...140,000 square feet of office space”.


The Plans were posted in the respective NovusAgenda Coversheets, broken into two smaller documents. These Plans are dated Oct. 16, 2020. The CC is asked to approve these Plans. The Plans reference Office SF in 3 locations, and none are in agreement.

On the final page of Plans Part 2 of 2 (as posted in Novus), there is a list of architectural drawings identified as the Appendix, and a statement that the Appendix was “submitted as separate document”.

However, Cary Teague did not publicly post the drawings in NovusAgenda for the PC (Nov 18) or CC (Dec 1) Public Hearings. During the CC Dec. 1 Public Hearing, Councilmember Fischer identified and requested this missing component, followed by Councilmember Staunton.

Cary Teague also posted the Appendix at Better Together, following my request. See “Proposed building plans PDF.pdf (22.4MB) (pdf)”.

Many of the Appendix pages are dated Oct. 16, 2020, and some are not dated.
Appendix PDF2 contains tables of Metrics. The metrics table for the Site B Office/Commercial building is individually dated Oct. 6, 2020. The Office GSF per floor, for floors 6-10, are as follows: 32,615; 32615; 25,500; 25,500; 25,500. For a total of 141,730 GSF OFFICE. (The Office Amenity Terraces are recognized separately, contributing to a FLOOR GSF.)

However, on Appendix PDF29, which page is dated Oct. 16, 2020, there are floor plan drawings which contain a different set of metrics. The Office GSF per floor, for floors 6-10, are as follows: 34,838; 34,838; 27,643; 27,643; 27,643. For a total of 152,605 GSF OFFICE.

Neither of these sets of metrics is in agreement with the developer’s narrative. On PDF/Text 18 of the Plans (Part 1 of 2), rejecting the DEG recommendation, the developer stated, “our office floorplates vary from 30,000 sf – 35,000 sf”.

What if Floors 8-10 were instead each assigned the developer’s stated minimum 30,000 Office GSF? Using the Appendix PDF29 data for floors 6-7, the Office GSF per floor, for floors 6-10, would be: 34,838; 34,838; 30,000; 30,000; 30,000. For a total of 159,676 OFFICE GSF. This would be very close to the 160,000 GSF that the developer specified in the narrative of their Sketch Plans (see above).

The Sketch Plan narrative, however, was inconsistent with the 135,000 GSF OFFICE represented in the Sketch Plan drawings. As previously stated, a 160,000 OFFICE GSF would represent 33% more GSF that the recommendation contained in the DEG.

12-9-2020, Roberta Castellano, 4854 France Ave S

Roberta C over 2 years ago

I was born in Edina, and now live in Minneapolis. I am a frequent visitor to the area. This block needs a refresh and this project is it. Very well thought out pedestrian and user experience. Massive upgrades to sustainability and connectivity in the neighborhood and inclusive of all. This is a huge investment in the future of Edina, where more housing options are needed.

WendyE over 2 years ago

We live close to the area and are excited about the possibility of the live, work, play design of this project, which is part of why Edina is such a draw for so many residents. Please support this project as it will only be a net gain for our community.

Clover H over 2 years ago

This is a great project from a development team that has demonstrated their commitment to long-term sustainable development in Edina. Bringing more density to this area where there are ample accesses, parking options and a mix of residential, retail, commercial and medical uses is desirable - this project will continue the redevelopment of this corridor and I hope spur additional redevelopment on nearby sites. I support this project and encourage the council to do so as well.

Anne Olson over 2 years ago

I support the proposed redevelopment for the following reasons:

1. The combination of housing (incl. affordable), office (jobs), and retail (service) is a live/work/play environment and encourages less driving by locating these uses together

2. Good spot for density- the location is easily accessible and has transit options as well as is walkable to amenities and services, again reducing the need for driving

3. Planning for growth- in order for Edina to continue to flourish, we need to bring new housing options and provide opportunities for companies to locate here and provide jobs close to where people live. Long term these types of projects will increase the tax base and accommodate smart growth in the City.

Brent Rogers over 2 years ago

I believe a project that revitalizes that property, which is already occupied, is a good thing overall. This plan proposes sustainability and a blend of high quality commercial, residential and entertainment that will stimulate the economy. Among the many reasons my family chose to live in Edina is the sense of community which is enhanced by a project like this that evolves this corner from pure commercial to both commercial and residential. This area already has an increased number of high rises e.g. Westin, growing Fairview hospital, so this is not altering the skyline in a way inconsistent with prior developments.

RJ over 2 years ago

This project replaces an obsolete bank building with a new development that exemplifies the live, work and play design that we can be proud of. The positive review in accordance with the Southdale design principles is the best I've seen. Please support this project.

Scott Smith over 2 years ago

As a 70+ year old resident of Edina, I remember the start of Southdale Mall in the 1950’s and the subsequent development of France Avenue.
We visited the area to shop, dine and enjoy the modern development of the area. Nearly 70 years later, it’s time for the area to develop again. The proposal put forth by Orion and Mortenson is very well aligned with the Southdale Design Guidelines. The project is beautiful. Please support this project.
Linda Carlson

LLC over 2 years ago

The proposed development at the US BANK SITE is the kind of mixed use development France Avenue can support. I'm encouraged that the design and materials would make this development look more like the Westin (quality) vs. the so many other apartments that all look the same. Quality Development in this area should be an economic engine for our city (therefore, let's ask our city officials to outline the economic benefit of this development vs. the current building). Development should be supported when it's of high quality, benefits the city (residents) financially, is in a commercial district, and is replacing 5 unattractive acres of concrete and brick. If we are honest, this highly visible corner is not very attractive today. Let's demand high quality development (look/feel/materials) to enhance the brand of this greater southdale area vs. just saying "no".
Peter Fitzgerald, Arden Park.

PeterF over 2 years ago

I support this project. The corner in question is ripe for redevelopment; it is an underutilized lot in a critical commercial area in the heart of the Southdale neighborhood. It will be great to see multi family housing and retail bring life to the area, particularly during the evenings and weekends, while quality office offerings will bring daytime activity and investment by tenants local and global. The affordable housing component is a wonderful addition for the City. We hope the City will support this effort to rejuvenate a promising intersection.

ZFamEdina over 2 years ago

I would like to call attention to the developer’s statement about the matter of building footprint/floorplate in response to the Design Experience Guidelines (DEG).
Quote from the DEG: “• Building footprints above 60 feet should be no greater than 12,000 SF for residential use and 24,000 SF for commercial space.”
Quote the developer’s response on Page 18 of its Plan document dated 10-16-2020: “It is important to note that modern office space floorplates are typically 28,000 – 35,000 sf. These generally accepted floorplate standard sizes are a result of careful planning around utility consumption, natural light entering space, creating connections within space, and maximizing efficiencies. our office floorplates vary from 30,000 sf – 35,000 sf.”
The developer appears to be saying that Edina’s DEG is not just a little wrong on this matter, but that it is completely out of range. Is this true? Did Edina develop the DEG based on faulty advice?
The discrepancy regarding footprint/floorplate needs to be resolved.
Roberta Castellano 4854 France Ave S

Roberta C over 2 years ago

Jim Jensen (Dawson Lane, Edina) I am an Edina resident and live a few blocks from the proposed development. I am against approval of this project. Aesthetically, the design of the project looks blocky, chunky, monolithic. The buildings are enormous and grossly out of scale for the neighborhood. There is no integration with the surrounding community. The dimensions and height of the buildings would limit sunlight, particularly in the winter months. Also, it seems as if the US Bank parcel (Site D) is not assimilated into the overall design of the plan. For example, the US Bank setback of 40 feet is not consistent with the Site B setback and the community guidelines. The Site A residential tower is even more problematic. Such a large tower (24 stories) is out of scale for the neighborhood and violates the Southdale Design Experience Guidelines as well as the Greater Southdale District Plan. The residential tower would also present line of sight problems for the neighborhoods to the West. The additional traffic would certainly add to congestion and delays particularly along France Avenue. The construction of such large impervious structures would add storm water inputs into the Nine Mile Creek watershed and put additional stress on this sensitive ecological system. It is also not clear to me if the proposed development block meets the requirement for 15% parkland at ground level. Plantings in raised concrete boxes do not represent green space that the community could use and enjoy. The affordable housing element of the proposed plan is certainly laudable, and I support it; however, the TIF taxpayer subsidy is not appropriate in this case. The developer should pay the full cost of the project. I also wonder about the plan of isolating the affordable housing to Site C. Why not have a mix of housing (affordable/market) at both Sites A and C? Let me be clear, I am not against well thought out development that is respectful of our community guidelines and zoning laws; however, this proposed development is neither. Rezoning this block to establish a PUD would create major problems for not only the surrounding neighborhood but also for the entire city of Edina. Post meeting note: Apparently the proposed development failed the traffic study. It was revealed that 4000 additional vehicles/day would overwhelm the France/70th Street intersection. This is the obvious consequence of not following the Southdale Design Experience Guidelines and Greater Southdale Area District Plan. I also learned last night that the PUD approval process is not very transparent. The developer is seeking an overarching rezoning and approval when many important aspects of the project are unknown. In my view, this is another major problem with the proposed PUD and rezoning plan.

jimj over 2 years ago

I think something should be done to make it possible for residents to provide speaking comments at the meeting...with the current system people are on hold and don't get thru...happened two meetings in a row. Only the Chamber of Commerce got thru on the hearing last night? Something off with this picture.
Also I note below Ms. Melton refers to the 110 unit "affordable housing" she privy to some information that is not public? I only heard they don't have a clue how they are going to meet the affordable housing guidelines of the city and in fact are keeping open the option to do the "opt out" and cash payment in lieu of units on site.

Kathy over 2 years ago