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Will Bello Cucina rise again on Broadway?

This drawing shows a proposed development that would transform 319 Broadway in Alexandria to a four-floor multi-use facility that would include a Bello Cucina restaurant, retail space, offices and apartments. (Contributed)

Plans are in the works to transform the site of the closed Bello Cucina restaurant at 319 Broadway into a new 61,000-square-foot, multi-purpose facility.

The existing "Old Broadway" building would be demolished and a new four-story structure would take its place, including a new Bello Cucina on the ground floor.

The developers are seeking tax increment financing to help build it. The total cost of the project is estimated at $9.1 million.

At its Monday meeting, the Alexandria City Council scheduled a public hearing for July 9 to consider the tax request.

The development, Bello Cucina Commons, LLC, would include a 14,000-square-foot restaurant on the main level, along with retail and service space. Market rate housing, targeted for higher-income households, would be available on the second, third and fourth floors.

Each housing level would include 11 apartment units. There would also be residential common spaces, including a fitness center, community room, arts and crafts room, along with an elevator and 24 detached garages.

Commercial rents would cost between $16 and $18 per square foot. The monthly rent for the apartments would range between $895 and $1,450, depending on size.

On the tax increment financing application, the stockholder for the development is listed as Michael Schoenecker of St. Cloud. The LLC is a new entity that was formed specifically for the project and includes Jason Mueller, who owns six Bello Cucina restaurants in Minnesota.

The developers want to use $1.37 million to help absorb the costs of redeveloping the site.

"We need TIF to make the project cost effective while at the same time make it attractive to investors in order to make it a viable project," the application states.

The project would create quality restaurant and retail/office space in the core central business district while providing 33 residential housing units for those who want to be in the downtown area directly adjacent to retail shopping, a grocery store, senior center and other core services, according to the developers.

The project could begin in mid-August and be completed on Aug. 15, 2019, the application states.

The Bella Cucina at 319 Broadway closed on Dec. 1, 2017, about six months after Mueller suffered a heart attack.

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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