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Bittersweet news for Pillsbury A Mill Planning

Thursday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune carried an article about new plans for apartment developments at the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill, on the east side of the river in the Central Riverfront District.

This is bittersweet news in my opinion.  Certainly redevelopment of the structure into apartments at varying price points is good news.

But it’s a real shame that Schafer-Richardson Inc., which had worked for years to develop the property, won’t be leading the way.

Kit Richardson has always been my example of “not all developers are like that” when colleagues start venting with the standard view of developers as short-term thinkers, motivated only by short-term profits.  Richardson’s project, East Bank Mills, was underway for about seven years, and could serve as a great case study of community engagement, collaboration with multiple agencies, and historic preservation interests, and a visionary sense of how a project could utilize the existing water power running through the mill building’s basement as a source of heating and cooling for millions of square feet of developed space.

East Banks Mills would have been community development in the best sense of the word, I believe, and I hope Richardson and his team will have a voice in the property’s future.

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3 Comments

  1. David TinjumApril 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Kit is also very knowledgeable on the history of the area, especially related to hydro power. He presents at community meetings from time to time and usually generates to most questions during Q&A. Certainly a different kind of developer.

  2. Kim SianiApril 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Indeed Kit is an example of what a developer should be. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    His father was an exceptional philosophy professor who cared deeply about the environment and had a great sense of community. Kit seems to have inherited the best of these traits.
    Kim Siani

  3. Linden W.April 17, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Bittersweet is certainly the right way to describe this. I just read the article and the new project sounds like it is trying to seal itself off from the surrounding neighborhood and a terrible replacement for the Richardson plan.

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