The Edina City Council approved a site-plan review and subdivision request for a Restoration Hardware building during its July 18 city council meeting.
The request was for a three- to four-story, 58,188-square-foot Restoration Hardware furniture store at the north east corner of France Avenue and 69th Street underneath the water tower.
Restoration Hardware shared plans and a new vision for retail during a sketch review at the April 4 city council meeting.
City staff members and the planning commission signed off on the updated version of the project.
Revisions from the sketch-plan review in April included reducing the walls adjacent to the courtyard from eight feet to six feet, which would be broken up by a wide gate, as well as adding landscaping and green space along France and 69th Street.
They also added public space with seating, as well as a double row of trees to screen parking spaces.
A traffic study of the project showed no needed changes to existing roadways. The study also included the ongoing changes to Southdale Center, including the JCPenney changeover to Lifetime Fitness.
This was a code compliant site plan, meaning that besides the parking variance that comes with any redevelopment to the Southdale area, the council had limited discretion compared to a project required rezoning or a comprehensive plan amendment.
Councilmember Bob Stewart had strong words against the
“I feel like I’m painted into a corner on this one,” Stewart said of the limited discretion the council was allowed, adding that he usually prefers to stand behind the recommendations of city staff and the planning commission. “ I don’t know why we bothered to have a sketch plan on this thing. I don’t think you listened to anything we said in the sketch-plan review in any detail. You shortened the wall, but [there is] still a wall there. And what we really want to have … is a connection to the community, and I don’t think we get that here.”
He also disapproved of the 45-degree slant the building faced, which Stewart believed memorialized the ring road concept.
“I think that will likely be a problem in the future,” Stewart said, adding that he would likely vote for it anyway since there was little that could be done. “I will silently curse Restoration Hardware … everything time I see it. I hope you don’t do it – I think it is a mistake.”
Councilmember Kevin Staunton was overall in favor of the proposal but was mildly frustrated with the process so far of the various projects going in around Southdale Center.
“It feels like we are getting a ‘one-at-a-time’ around Southdale, where corners are getting clipped off,” Staunton said. “If there is a grand plan, we would be glad in participating in talking about that. I think there are things we would like to do in terms of the greater Southdale area, for both the community and future projects.”
He invited Simon Properties to have a future conversation about what the future of in-fill development could look like with the council.
“I like the project a lot – I liked it from the beginning,” Mayor Jim Hovland said, adding that he liked the notion that Simon Properties was thinking about the future of the regional mall and not letting it go stagnant.
The council voted unanimously for the site plan and subdivision.