A Bridge to Opportunity
Southbank is a 535 acre, mixed-use, master-planned community located in Shakopee, Minnesota on the southwestern suburban edge of Minneapolis, just south of the new Bloomington Ferry Bridge, Interstate 169 and bisected by County Highway 18. The location, just across the river from Bloomington and Eden Prairie, is a funnel for traffic from the rapidly expanding cities of Shakopee, Savage and Prior Lake, and metro bound traffic from all of Southwestern Minnesota. In 2001 the traffic count exceeded 40,000 vehicles per day.
Entitlement processes in the Minneapolis St. Paul metropolitan area are governed by the Metropolitan Urban Service Area (MUSA) and are onerous by any standard. The property was acquired in 1994, but construction on the first residential phase did not begin until 1998. The strength of the location was underscored by the sellout of the 176 single-family lots of the first phase and 300 townhouse lots in two years with fourteen additional platted townhouse acres under contract.
However, the pending development of the 80 acre retail phase, including a Wal-Mart site and the extensive time consumed by the residential entitlements for the first phase caused the principals of Southbank to retain Biegel & Co to oversee the existing development team and analyze the current and planned development efforts. As a result of that effort, a new master-plan was developed, the market's top retail architect was retained to design the 80 acre retail site, one of the top traffic engineering firms in the US was retained to assist in the acquisition of critically needed access to the retail site, a superior reporting system was implemented, one of the top brokerage firms in the Minneapolis marketplace was retained to market the entire project, a new engineering firm was hired, a public relations firm was retained, a specifically targeted package was presented to Home Depot, a stealth operation was developed to acquire adjacent property and expand the project, two landfill sites were re-targeted from parking lots/ open space to be immediately remediated and reclaimed for development, and standard agreements were established for contractor retention.