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Bello Cucina site may be redeveloped

The Bello Cucina location at 319 Broadway in Alexandria has been closed since Dec. 1, 2017. (File photo)

The site of the closed Bello Cucina restaurant in Alexandria may be redeveloped into a mixture of multi-family housing and retail.

The Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission is requesting the Alexandria City Council call for a public hearing to consider giving the redevelopment, known as Bella Cucina Commons, LLC, tax increment financing.

The item is on the council's agenda for its May 14 meeting. At this point, the only action that's requested is to schedule the hearing.

Bella Cucina closed the restaurant at 319 Broadway on Dec. 1, 2017.

Also, the council is expected to take up an item that was tabled at the last meeting — a request by Unique Development to make changes to its planned unit development near Woodland Elementary School and Rosewood Lane.

The project, as approved in 2016, called for three apartment buildings containing 36, 48 and 60 units, along with four four-unit townhomes, all clustered along the eastern half of the site.

The first 36-unit apartment complex is complete and occupied.

The changes would eliminate the proposed townhomes and the 60-unit apartment building to create additional park and open space. Instead, the developer would build a 94-unit apartment building and two 80-unit apartments. The developer also wants to reduce the 48-unit apartment building to 47 units.

Including the 36 units that are already built, the development would include a total of 337 apartment units, more than twice the 160 units in the initial plan. The density, however, will be reduced under the requested amendment, going from 160 units on 13 acres to 337 units spread over 29.67 acres.

The company also wants to realign public streets to allow a daycare building.

The council tabled the request at its April 23 meeting, partly because only three of the five council members were able to attend the meeting.

Another notable item on the agenda is a public hearing to consider changes to the city's tobacco licensing ordinance.

The council is considering amending sections of the ordinance regarding the denial, suspension, and revocation of tobacco licenses. The council is also deciding whether to impose stiffer penalties for businesses that repeatedly violate the ordinance.

The public hearing will take place at 7:15 p.m.

Other items on the May 14 agenda include:

• Calling for quotes for a multi-family workforce housing project that would be funded in part by the Minnesota Housing Workforce Development Program. The Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority acquired the tax-forfeited property and is planning to redevelop it.

• A resolution to vacate unbuilt public streets and utility and drainage easements within the Woodland Heights plat.

• An introduction of those participating in the Blandin Community Foundation's community leadership program.

• Proposed revisions in the city's alcohol policy.

• Special event permits.

• A loan subordination request from ALI Management, LLC.

• Items from the city engineer and city attorney.

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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