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Changes await Old Broadway

Big changes await Old Broadway, a landmark building in downtown Alexandria that has been vacant for two years.

Jill Blashack Strahan and Joani Nielson of Copper Leaf Properties, LLC, are in discussions with the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to redevelop the Old Broadway property.

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The project represents a three-way public/private collaborative effort among Copper Leaf Properties, HRA and ORB Management Corporation to create the first mixed use development in this area for decades.

The proposed multi-level, multi-use structure includes retail and public/private office space on the first floor and residential units on the second floor.

The development will create efficiencies for several public agencies, including HRA and Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC), through use of shared office space and common areas, according to the entities involved.

Other goals include addressing the need for additional workforce housing and attracting/retaining private business and retail tenants downtown.

The plans also provide outdoor spaces and amenities for public use. To make room for the new project, there may be demolition work done at the site.

ORB Management Corporation, along with HRA Director Jeff Hess and AAEDC Director Jason Murray, recently presented conceptual plans and financial information to the HRA and AAEDC board members review.

The goal is to move forward so that physical construction can run concurrently with the planned Broadway Street improvement project in 2014.

“We are excited about the strategic vision for this vacant property and having it converted to a meaningful use that benefits the community,” noted Joani Nielson of Copper Leaf Properties. “This collaboration among private businesses and the HRA offers a unique means of creating a space that contributes to the vitality and growth of the downtown area.”

HRA Director Jeff Hess added, “This project reflects a trend for multi-purpose, mixed-use development that we’ve seen succeed in other metropolitan areas in recent years. It will be a valuable addition to downtown and will complement the Broadway redevelopment plan.”

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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