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August 25, 2009

Kutzky development w/ 2 Roch. New Horizons @ zoning commission

Here's some from a piece about a development in the downtown Kutzky neighborhood that is going before the Olmsted-Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission. Interesting point, the daycare center will be New Horizon's second center in Rochester:

Cascade creek development

An estimated $10 million downtown Rochester development that includes a daycare, an apartment complex and townhomes is may take a step forward this week.

The Cascade Creek project, spearheaded by the non-profit housing group First Groups, is slated to built on a two-acre plot bordered by Civic Center Drive, Sixth Avenue Northwest, Fourth Street and Cascade Creek

On Wednesday, the Rochester-Olmsted Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a conditional use permit for the plan in the downtown Kutzky neighborhood. The goal is to combat blight and replace it with new housing and related commercial projects.

Once the development is OKed by the city, First Homes can apply for  needed funding from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. That agency will announce its decision on the application on Oct. 1 and construction could start soon after that.

“Neighborhoods are really defined by the edges around them… This is kind of creating an edge to the neighborhood,” says Sean Allen, executive director of First Homes and Rochester Area Foundation Assistant Director. First Homes is an offshoot of the Foundation.

 “I foresee Sixth Avenue from Civic Center down to Second Street as redeveloping pretty seriously over the next 10 years. We’re just the first block,” he said.

The Cascade Creek plan calls for demolishing or moving 11 houses considered blighted as well as vacating an alley. 

First Homes has been handling the development planning and acquisition of the land for the past four years. Once that is all lined up, along with financing, First Homes will sell it to Twin Cities developer Metro Plains.

Allen says the concept for this project was conceived through the Imagine Kutzky revitalization program with input from the neighborhood.

“We’re basically facilitating what we see as a neighborhood-driven project,” he said.

 Once the site is ready, a Twin Cities developer working with First Homes will oversee the construction of a 10,000-square-foot New Horizons daycare facility along with a 40 unit, four story apartment complex and a six townhomes.

The mix of new for sale and rental housing is designed to bring more people  to the downtown neighborhood, which has losing population since 1970s, Allen said. 

What about the New Horizons child care center?

“It came out during the Imagine Kutzky project that there wasn’t a childcare center in the area. We kind of see that part as an amenity,” Allen says.

Twin Cities-based New Horizons built its first Rochester center last year. Chief Operating Officer Chad Dunkley says it just makes sense to add a second one, particularly near downtown.

 The day-care center would include a 10,000-square-foot building fronting Civic Center Drive and an 8,400-square-foot outdoor playground.


I'm really impressed with the action the Kutzky neighborhood has taken, and I'm glad that my neighborhood has taken a page from their book and started the Washington Neighborhood Association. I think this is really what it takes to keep the downtown area a good place to live and raise kids.

I don't agree that this is the appropriate direction. Wasn't the Kutzky association trying to get multi-unit rentals out of the neighborhood? Now they're encorouraging single family homes to be torn down and apartments to be put up.

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