Is it true that Mississippi Market might open a store in Dayton’s Bluff?
We hope to! The Gateway Food Initiative, comprised of a group of east side residents who are committed to making a food co-op a reality on St. Paul’s East Side invited us into the conversation in 2012. As of now, nothing is definite, but we continue to work with them and the City of St. Paul on the potential of the Hospital Linens site.
Hospital Linen site? Where’s that?
The Hospital Linen site is a vacant lot on East 7th St. between Maple and Bates. It is across the street from the Swede Hollow Café and just down the block from Metro State University. It used be the home of a facility that washed all the hospital linens in the city. After it was torn down, the city remediated it and has been looking for a new development to go up in this lot. They’re interested in working with Mississippi Market and Dominion to develop the site.
Dominion? What does that mean?
Dominion is a developer that specializes in income-based senior housing. The lot is pretty big – big enough for us to build a decent-sized store and for Dominion to build a 120 unit apartment building.
Hmm, fresh foods AND affordable housing for seniors? That sounds pretty cool. What’s the hold up?
Well, there are a number of challenges that we would need to address if the project was to move forward. Most of them have to do with challenges presented by the slope of the lot and the fact that the timelines for building a grocery store and for building an apartment building are different. We are trying to figure out what it would mean for the project if Dominion and the co-op went about their building at different times.
But once you get those things figured out, you’ll go forward with the third store, right?
The community is very supportive and our market study shows that another Mississippi Market would do well on the East Side. Still, our board of directors has not approved this plan yet, and we are still in the exploratory phase.
I see. So, what’s happening now?
Since the meetings with neighborhood residents held in June, Gail, our general manager has been busy attending a number of other meetings with interested parties to discuss the project’s potential and to hear feedback from neighbors. We are completing a more thorough financial analysis of the project and hope to be at a decision point within the next few months.