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Bloomington Briefing

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Mayor’s memo

Authored on
Bloomington Briefing Published January 4, 2022
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Updated on January 4, 2022
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South Loop is abuzz with new developments and amenities

By Mayor Tim Busse

Bloomington’s South Loop District contains many amenities— Mall of America, homes, hotels, sculptures, restaurants, murals, apartments, four light rail stations—and they’re all next to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 

Many new attractions are on their way to South Loop, too. From new housing opportunities to public art, there’s something for everyone in the area. In addition to a new mural—one of Minnesota’s longest—and a new art bench, read more on page 7, Fiddlehead Coffee Co. opened its doors at 8061 33rd Avenue in October. Housing projects on the horizon include a new independent senior housing complex from Roers Senior Development that was approved with a future location at 8131 34th Avenue South. The age-restricted, six-story building will include 146 units and redevelop an existing surface parking lot along the Minnesota River bluff. Plans include two levels of underground parking spaces, some of which will be shared with the office building at 8101 34th Avenue South. Construction could begin as early as this spring. 

Two more development projects are also taking shape in the South Loop. The Rosa and American Square developments will create new residential housing, advancing goals of Bloomington’s South Loop District Plan. On both sites, large surface parking lots will be transformed into more than 500 new housing units. 

Preparation for this work began years ago. In June, the Bloomington City Council approved the Rosa development on a 12-acre site at 3700 American Boulevard East, where Park and Fly currently operates. During the first phase, a six-story, 183-unit apartment building will be constructed. Affordable units will make up 20% of the apartments, and the remainder will be market rate. Additional phases are planned for two residential buildings and a hotel, depending on market demand. 

Across the street from Rosa, a two-phased development called American Square is planned at 3701 American Boulevard East. The first phase will involve the construction of the Ardor, a six-story, 242-unit apartment building. All units would be market rate. The second phase includes the development of a five-story, 86-unit apartment building called the Quinn. All units will be affordable housing. 

The proposed South Loop water park project is in motion once again. In September, the City Council and Port Authority directed staff to investigate a private financing model allowed by new 2021 legislation. If the financing markets “like” the private model, we could see a closing on the project in 2022, with an opening in 2024.  Of course, no real estate deal is done until the financing closes, which is still months away. 

The water park would be open to the general public. The new 330,000-square-foot water park would bring an estimated $1 million in new admissions and lodging taxes to the City. No Bloomington property taxes are at risk for the project debt. A discount on admission to the water park for Bloomington residents is planned. 

There are also many proposed projects in the area that have not yet been approved. Watch for more details on those as they progress in future issues of the Briefing. To learn more about what’s happening in South Loop, visit blm.mn/southloop.