The former gas station at 13650 Hanson Blvd. NW., Andover, will be demolished by a private developer to make way for a new commercial building.
Klodt Incorporated and Platinum Properties are planning to build a 13,000-square-foot building on the southwest corner of Bunker Lake and Hanson boulevards, next to ABC Mini Storage and Kottke’s Bus Service.
No specific tenants have been announced, but Platinum Properties President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Hagen said there would be a sit-down restaurant serving ethnic food not found at any other restaurant in this immediate area. It would not be a national chain.
A national-brand coffee shop not found in the Twin Cities would be the other tenant, but Hagen would not specify since the deal is being finalized.
Beyond the restaurant and coffee shop, six additional tenants could fit into this retail center. No tentative deals have been lined up for any of these other spaces, according to Hagen.
Ground breaking is tentatively scheduled for March, with the building being ready to occupy by September. The investment just for the building is $4 million, not counting any work the tenants do on their own space, Hagen said.
News that the gas station would be torn down and replaced with new development pleased the Andover City Council. At the Dec. 15 meeting it unanimously approved conditional use permits for the building and drive-thru and a variance regarding parking lot setbacks from the roads.
Mayor Julie Trude and Council Member Mike Knight said they consistently hear from the community that more sit-down restaurants are needed.
“We get a lot of residential requests for eating places,” Council Member Mike Knight said.
Community Development Director David Carlberg has said in past updates to the Andover Economic Development Authority that the community has had some trouble attracting more restaurants because many residents work outside the city so there is more limited day-time traffic.
Trude said Andover has probably had trouble attracting the franchise sit-down restaurants because there are no state highways or freeways cutting through the city, but she said the county roads carry a lot of traffic and the locally-owned restaurants that have come to Andover have done well.
“Our zip code spends way too much money in neighboring communities, so it would be nice to keep that money in Andover,” she said.
Hagen said when he drove by the corner of Hanson and Bunker Lake boulevard when scouting properties, he felt it was a prime spot for development.
His market study confirmed there was a need for more restaurants and retail. Although a Caribou Coffee and Starbucks are close by, Hagen said people are generally loyal to their favorite coffee shop and he thinks many will like the brand he is bringing in. Being at the intersection of two busy county roads will help, he said.
“People don’t want to drive real far to get certain services,” he said. “You truly want to run to the corner store, get what you need and come back.”
He called his long-time friend Kevin Klodt, who owns Klodt Incorporated, a company his grandfather Frantz Klodt founded in 1924. Their parents Don Hagen and Paul Klodt had actually worked together for years on multiple apartment buildings, hotels and shopping centers. While Jeffrey Hagen has served as Klodt Incorporated’s real estate broker for a number of years, this is the first time he and Kevin Klodt have been business partners on a development deal.
Klodt Incorporated has a construction division, led by John Bell. Platinum Properties and Mid-America Real Estate will lease the space.
Drive-thru draws some concerns
While the Andover Planning and Zoning Commission had no trouble with the conditional use permit to allow this building to be constructed, it did have split opinions on the drive-thru for the coffee shop.
Commissioners Kyle Nemeth, Steve Peterson and Jeff Sims were concerned with the design and not having enough information. But with the understanding that the council would have the final say and his feelings would be reflected in the meeting minutes, Peterson changed his stance so that the commission had a 4-2 vote recommending the drive-thru.
Nemeth is concerned that there would be too much traffic on this site to add a drive-thru and that this would affect the traffic flow on Grouse Street, which is the service road that goes between Jay Street west of this site and Station Parkway to the south.
Peterson thought an extra 10-foot-wide lane for vehicles to go around the drive-thru lane would make sense.
Sims believed the commission should have been able to see the final site plan before making a recommendation.
“I feel like we don’t have enough information to make a valid decision,” Sims said.
Carlberg said the planning commission’s task was to decide whether a drive-thru should be allowed, not how it was designed.
All that has been done is a general site layout showing where the building, parking and drive-thru would be. The turning radius allowed for the delivery and drive-thru length, landscaping and where signs would be placed are issues that would be resolved between the developer and city staff.
“There might be things that need to be tweaked to make the traffic flow better so we don’t have conflicts, but we’re not there yet,” he said. “This is logically the best place for a drive-thru if a drive-thru is going to be allowed on this site.”
Carlberg believes another lane to bypass the drive-thru and go around the building would not make sense since these vehicles would be crossing in front of drive-thru traffic going to Hanson Boulevard.
Planning commission chairperson Dean Daninger said he was in favor of the drive-thru as long as city staff thoroughly reviews the design.
“If there’s a truck stopped out on Grouse Street because there’s five cars queued up, then I didn’t do my job tonight. But I have faith that staff will look at that,” Daninger said.