As St. Michael council members, planning staff and city employees put their heads together more than a decade ago for a comprehensive plan surrounding commercial development in the city’s new Town Center development, it surveyed residents for a hint of what people wanted to see.
The resounding result was one – at the time, relatively new – brand: Chipotle. The other? A Starbucks for those caffeine-addicted car drivers on their way to work.
The feedback, at the time, was people needed to be patient.
“Everything we always here from franchises like that is that St. Michael, and communities like us, needs more rooftops,” said Community Development Director Marc Weigle. “When things stalled out in 2008 and the years after, for a while, those franchises focused on larger, second ring suburbs like Plymouth, Woodbury, and places like that.”
And while that was true, the rooftops did start coming. Despite COVID’s interruption, St. Michael has seen a housing boom only rivaled by that of the early 2000’s, when the population boom made STMA the “exurb” area it is today.
This week, St. Michael reaps the reward of that growth – spurred by developments on the city’s south and west sides – with the City Council’s approval of a new parcel in the Town Center.
It’s a bit unorthodox for a restaurant/quick-serve set up. The two sites will run perpendicular to Highway 241, and won’t have access to that major roadway. Westbound drivers will access the complex by turning at the light at Edgewood Drive and then heading east on Ash Street. Eastbound drivers can cut in via the road just the west of Midwest One Bank, taking a left on Ash.
The two buildings will share one “site” – including a parking lot. Sandwiched between the new St. Michael Eye Care (under construction) and just west of Midwest One, city staff is working with the developer on things such as water retention, parking and traffic flow.
“It’s definitely what people ask the most, it seems,” said council member Ryan Gleason. “When are we gonna get a, and you fill in the blank. Often, it’s Chipotle or Starbucks.”
One St. Michael resident said to NWCT – “Well, as long as it isn’t pizza or another daycare, I’m all for it. But a Panera would be nice.”
You can’t please everyone, it seems.