CC Special Work Session


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Meeting Date: 09/23/2021  

Title:
Discuss COR and Highway 10 Planning / Vision
Purpose/Background:
Purpose
The purpose of this case is to have the City Council (CC), Planning Commission (PC) and Economic Development Authority (EDA) discuss the COR and Highway 10 Planning / Vision.  It has been approximately 3-4 years since the CC, PC and EDA have met jointly to discuss the COR and Hwy 10 Planning / Vision and future development. The makeup of the CC, PC and EDA  has changed over the past few years so it seems reasonable to have all bodies present to get to know each other and to discuss items that are relevant to the growth and development of the City. The Planning Commission leadership asked for this meeting to be scheduled to discuss the vision for the COR, Highway 10, and allow each group to get to know each other.

Development, infrastructure improvements and branding along Hwy 10 and in the COR are important to the success of Ramsey.  The planning/vision for Hwy 10 and the COR have evolved over time to adjust to economic and market factors. As we exit the Covid-19 pandemic, the way people shop and work is much different than in 2019. As market factors change, the City needs to be flexible and prepared to respond to requests for new places to live, work, play, shop and eat.

Background on the COR/Retail
Many office buildings are struggling to bring their tenants back as more workers chose, and are able to work remotely.  The development of power shopping centers is not as prevalent as before and retailers are changing to smaller formats and increasing online sales. Investment in new restaurants has not recovered from the impacts of the pandemic but it is still a priority for the City of Ramsey.  Housing in the suburbs is in high demand and pricing and sales have increased.  A comparison for Ramsey from July 2013 to July 2021 shows an increase in median home value from $189,000 to $339,000. Days on market have dropped from 92 down to 13 showing how hot this market is in Ramsey. The real estate environment we live in in 2021 is much different than 2005, when Ramsey Town Center (now known as the COR) was created.  

Staff has attempted to bring new retail/commercial prospects to the COR, while being responsive and attentive to prospects who come to the City. Staff is not turning away retail/commercial prospects, and is working hard to get more businesses interested in coming to the COR. 

Background on Highway 10
Highway 10 has always been a focal point for the City of Ramsey.  For many, what they see on Highway 10 is their first impression of Ramsey.  Highway 10 is a major arterial road which provides opportunity for business investment, marketing and future development.  The major work relating to the new interchanges from Anoka to Elk River over the next 5 years will change the landscape of this corridor and Ramsey needs to be prepared. There will be challenges during the construction period and it is important to do what we can as a city to help our businesses during this difficult time.

Attached is a two-pager from July 2021 showing the preliminary layout and before-and-after renderings of the two proposed interchange areas. Other information on the proposed Ramsey Gateway Highway 10 improvements can be found on the following websites:
Topics for discussion
COR Items:
  1. How does the City want to see the COR Develop?
    1. Soft pause on multi-family housing on City-owned land to give time to allow retail/commercial to catch up. What is that level?
    2. Process: Responsive to project requests while still actively recruiting retail/commercial.
  2. Review of COR development proposals:
    1. Parcel 50 (South of Casey's) - Java Properties Retail
    2. Parcel 46 (around roundabout) - Centra Homes
    3. Pact Charter School - Future expansion - Location needs to be determined
  3. Is the City open to dollar type stores on City Property in the COR? If so, where?
    1. Should we retain "end cap" type pieces for high quality users?
Citywide Items:
  1. Balance between Urban and Rural Development (MUSA Line).
Highway 10:
  1. The City has a draft ordinance and lease for the IDigital Billboard on Hwy 10 and other potential billboard locations. Are Staff, Boards and Commissions on the right track?
    1. Related: sign discussion, regulations and design. Planning Commission seemed interested in redeveloping City-wide sign plan.
Timeframe:
The City is receiving more development proposals for lots in the COR.  A better understanding of which uses are acceptable and where these uses will be considered would be helpful for staff, boards and commissions so staff can work efficiently with developers and end users. 

IDigital is looking to finalize the lease and ordinance for the Billboard this fall.  It would likely be a 2022 build.  In order to keep this project on track, we need to adopt an ordinance and agree on a lease in the next few months.
Funding Source:
Responsible Party(ies):
Outcome:
Possible outcomes of the joint meeting include:
  1. Clarity surrounding the vision / plan for the COR and Hwy 10
  2. Understanding of which uses and the location of those uses will be supported on City-land in the COR
  3. Clarification/understanding of MUSA Boundary
  4. Confirmation on a commitment to bring Billboard(s) to Highway 10 (potential direction relating to City signs and branding)

Attachments
Ramsey Gateway Layout & Renderings
Site Location Map Parcel 46 and Parcel 50
Parcel 50 - Retail Development Proposal
Parcel 46 Vision
Parcel 46 - Centra Proposal
Ramsey Housing Market July 2021
Ramsey Housing Market July 2013
Draft Billboard Lease I Digital
Resolution #21-131 - Proceed with Bill Board
Draft Billboard Regulations
Future Land Use Map (MUSA)
Pact Massing Plan - Sunwood Dr Option (1)

<
Form Review
Inbox Reviewed By Date
Sean Sullivan Sean Sullivan 09/15/2021 10:19 AM
Bruce Westby (Originator) Bruce Westby 09/16/2021 10:17 AM
Kurt Ulrich Kurt Ulrich 09/16/2021 02:40 PM
Form Started By: Bruce Westby Started On: 09/14/2021 02:48 PM
Final Approval Date: 09/16/2021

    

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