From the Pioneer Press, the results of design proposals for the Johnson Boat Works site in White Bear Lake are underwhelming, to say the least. The City’s development authority, which had hoped to retain ownership of the site and serve in the role of property manager, estimates annual losses on each of the three proposals. A key factor behond the loss? The City refuses to allow a residential component as part of a proposed design, preferring to keep this as a typical office/retail block.
We could go into all of the walkability/sustainability/design reasons why this is a bad decision, and make this a regular old post. As it turns out, though, including a residential piece in this development is the only way any proposal has shown a positive cash flow. Maybe this will be another area where good ideas languish until someone figures out they can make money with said good idea, and then it takes off.