City officials may not have been expecting when they first began planning to redevelop the Cedar Grove neighborhood more than a decade ago.
But the Eagan City Council recognized that even well-laid plans must sometimes make way for new opportunities on Tuesday night, when they unanimously approved Paragon Outlet Partners LLC.'s preliminary subdivision, rezoning and a preliminary site plan requests.
The approvals were the last significant bureaucratic hurdles for Paragon, a Baltimore, Md.-based company seeking to build as many as 100 upscale outlet shops on a 25-acre site in Eagan.
The council is expected to issue final approvals in six to eight weeks for the project, but that action is largely a formality, Eagan Community Development Director Jon Hohenstein explained on Tuesday.
"It wasn’t exactly what the original plan was, but with the shift in the economy, we’ve been flexible," Eagan City Councilor Paul Bakken said during the council's regular Tuesday meeting. "It’s something new, something we don’t have, and something that will be a regional attractor."
Paragon plans to begin construction on the mall this spring, and will spend much of the winter securing tenants for the building, Paragon representative Kelvin Antill said. The mall opening will likely occur sometime in the fall or winter of 2014.
The project is expected to bring as many as 400 construction jobs and 1,600 to 2,000 retail jobs to the community, Antill added. Development of the mall may also add as much as $84 million to the taxable value of the property, Hohenstein said.
Eagan council members raised a handful of worries about pedestrian issues on Tuesday, with Councilor Meg Tilley and others asking mall planners to consider safe pedestrian access to the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority bus station to the south of the mall property.
Concern also centered around Paragon Parkway—a new street that will bisect the development from east to west—and whether traffic there would interfere with pedestrians crossing from a two-story parking garage to the mall proper.
Paragon officials explained that the parkway will have stop signs, well-marked cross-walks and a pull-in spot for buses.
"If things go well here tonight, it could be a very big night fot the Cedar Grove development," Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire said at the onset of the meeting. "It would be significant not only for Eagan, but I think for the south metro."