Several Northstar stations attracting more development

There's a common sight within blocks of Northstar Commuter Rail stations in Fridley, Coon Rapids and Ramsey: apartment construction.

The recent and ongoing activity is a sign that, a decade after opening, Minnesota's only commuter rail line is an increasingly attractive amenity for residents who want to avoid driving to and from downtown Minneapolis.

Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates is doing its part to meet the demand. The company is building a 180 market-rate apartment project called Lyra, and a 71 affordable apartment project called Nova, on previously vacant land next to the Coon Rapids/Riverdale Station. No apartments have been built in Coon Rapids for the past 25 years.

"In apartment development, we're always looking to locate next to demand generators, and the rail stations are an incredible amenity for renters by allowing freedom of movement for work or play without reliance upon a vehicle," said Shane LaFave, Sherman & Associates' director of development.

The recent construction will add to an already impressive tally.

​Between 2009 and 2017, more than $66 million in multi-family development occurred within a half-mile of Northstar stations. The total does not include Elk River or Big Lake, which lie outside the seven-county metro area.

The activity is summarized in a new report from Metro Transit's Transit Oriented Development Office. The report also looks at commercial and public investment and summarizes local planning efforts in the corridor.

"Northstar is generating development interest in communities that have not seen much in a long time," said Lucy Galbraith, Metro Transit's TOD Director. "It's encouraging to see these stations areas begin to reach their full potential."

Metro Transit's TOD Office is a resource for developers and local partners, and pursues development opportunities on suitable Metro Transit properties.

Working with the City of Fridley and Anoka County, the office has been involved in Sherman Associates' plans to bring three apartment buildings to land just east of the Fridley Station. Combined, the developments will provide nearly 300 new apartments for a range of incomes.

The land is owned by Fridley's Housing and Redevelopment Authority and leased to Metro Transit for use as a Park & Ride. While the development will replace some parking, commuters will still be able to park at the Fridley Station. Construction is set to begin by the end of this year.

Just blocks from the Fridley Station, construction also recently wrapped up on an expansion of the Cielo Apartments.

Further north in Ramsey, a new city center and public park are among the features of a 400-acre redevelopment area immediately east of its rail station.

While Ramsey's station only opened in 2012, the surrounding area has seen more activity than any other point along the commuter rail line. Combined, there has been $87 million in residential, office and retail activity within a half mile of the Ramsey Station.

View the Northstar Corridor TOD Report

Learn more about Metro Transit's TOD Office

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