The West End Development Created a New Place in Minnesota

West End Site Plan

The West End project, developed by Duke Realty, added a mixed-use destination to two suburban cities.

The West End is a 32-acre, pedestrian-friendly, retail lifestyle center located on a site west of Minneapolis that straddles the border between St. Louis Park and Golden Valley. The infill project replaced a dying big-box center and added a new street grid and utility infrastructure.

The project was first presented at a ULI forum in Minneapolis in 2011 in which three of the project’s leaders examined the West End from the real estate development, public sector, and design perspectives.

The collaboration of the teams helped make the West End project possible. The Duke Realty and municipal staff teams met every week for nearly three years to hammer out the project’s entitlement and financing package.

Pat Mascia, senior vice president of Minneapolis-Saint Paul operations for Duke Realty, explained the company’s interest in the project during the Minneapolis forum:

“We had great demographics that would support a regional retail project,” as well as “the best office development site in the Twin Cities. Putting retail and office uses together on this site created some great opportunities.”

Infrastructure was a core part of the development team’s considerations:

Significant infrastructure investments—to provide improved connections between the new retail and existing office space—were needed. New roads were built and others widened; two parking structures were built to accommodate 1,500 stalls, and an additional 4,400-stall parking structure will be constructed to accompany the new office towers. Utility infrastructure (storm and sanitary sewers, water mains, gas lines, and electrical and communications conduits) was carefully coordinated to keep the streetscape looking seamless. A below-ground water retention system, with drains to collect stormwater that is used to irrigate street trees and other plantings, won Duke Realty accolades in 2010 for decreasing pollutant runoff and improving water quality.

The project is nearing completion and is mostly leased and open to the public. Still to be built are 1.1 million square feet of office space. The project has already helped revitalized its corner of the metropolitan area and will continue to be a civic anchor for lifestyle and entertainment in the region.

Read more on pages 32-35 of Shifting Suburbs

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