Right now, The Rune project in Alexandria – a massive $25 million development at the corner of Third Avenue and Broadway – is a giant hole waiting for things to happen.
But despite delays, supply chain shortages and price increases for building materials, the developers are confident that work will resume soon.
Earlier this spring, CI Construction completed the remaining excavation at the site with the exception of areas where monitoring wells are located, according to Ted Thompson, senior project manager.
The monitoring wells, which either have to be removed or relocated, have been a sticking point for months. Part of the land was once the site of a former Amoco gas station, and the developer, GoodNeighbor Properties, has been working with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to close the environmental monitoring at the site.
“To this point reaching an agreement with Amoco and the MPCA to remove and/or relocate the monitoring wells from the old Amoco gas station on the corner have been the major culprit for delays,” said Thompson. “You can see them sticking up out of the excavation currently. During excavation we did not encounter contaminated soils, but additional borings in Hawthorne Street during our Phase II environmental (work) we did encounter some contamination.”
Thompson added that an agreement has been reached to have the wells removed or relocated and they are awaiting the completion of that work before moving forward with the concrete foundation.
“The foundation work will be completed this summer and we will start steel erection as soon as we receive our steel,” Thompson said.
As is the case with many other building projects, supply chain shortages are impacting The Rune’s timeline. According to a federal Bureau of Labor Statistics survey this past March, 52% of 1,419 contractor respondents had experienced delays due to shortages of materials, parts or equipment.
“We may not receive our steel until this winter,” Thompson said. “The silver lining there would be that it will allow most of the materials of this project to be bought out when prices start to return to normal.”
Construction materials throughout the U.S. are seeing a major pricing spike, Thompson said.
“Some of these prices are already starting to come down, but it’s widely expected to take through the end of the year and likely into next year for it to normalize,” Thompson noted.
A bright spot for The Rune project: “Interest in the apartments has been high and we already have over half the commercial space spoken for,” Thompson said.
The new four-story complex will consist of commercial and retail space, including a new restaurant – Mill Valley Kitchen, which is scheduled to open in 2022.
The Rune will also include 72 market-rate apartments, ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom units.
Four stories will be above ground on the Broadway side and three stories above ground on the Hawthorne Street side. The first floor, which will be at ground level on Broadway and have underground parking on the Hawthorne side, will be the commercial level.
There will be another underground parking level below this with 153 stalls.