The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 13, 2014

Parkway redevelopment getting greener

Recession slowed project, but investment interest blossoming


The building, which could approach $10 million to construct, would have 77 market-rate apartments (totaling more than 150 bedrooms) on four floors, each with a balcony and large windows to emphasize views of the river valley. A patio and fire pit on the river side of the building and roof-top decks would be shared by residents. Early designs also call for underground parking, a fitness center and other amenities.

“I like the concept,” said Jackson, who also developed the apartment complex adjacent to another Mankato park — Hiniker Pond. “I think it would be a nice addition to the area.”

If Jackson decides the project is feasible and the city gives its OK, construction could begin this year.

“I would hope to know within 60 days if we’re going to be moving forward,” he said.

Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel said the parkway is progressing according to plan, although probably not at the pace originally expected. The land between Highway 169 and Sibley Park was always anticipated to be primarily developed for residential use, with high-density apartments or condos on the riverside and townhomes or single-family houses south of the parkway.

But the planning and roadwork was approved when the housing market was booming, and the Great Recession hit just as the land was becoming available for development.

“During the period that infrastructure was being constructed, the crash hadn’t occurred yet,” Vogel said. “Obviously, there’s been a lag.”

The Sibley Parkway Apartments, which were built by a Slayton-based nonprofit to provide subsidized housing for young families with below-average incomes, ended the lag. The townhomes are being developed by Steve Rentz, who with Ken Hoffman owned the concrete plant land and are paying a portion of the parkway development costs via assessments. If the Jackson building moves ahead, there could be hundreds of new residents living along the parkway by the end of next year.

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