By Kevin Miller
The Brooklyn Park City Council unanimously approved amended development plans, preliminary and final plats and conditional-use permits for the Stone Mountain Plaza development at the northeast corner of Zane Avenue and Oak Grove Parkway at its Aug. 28 meeting.
The development will bring a Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, Chick-fill-A, two multi-tenant retail and office buildings, and a day care facility called Today’s Life Schools and Childcare to the approximately 6.5-acre site.
These restaurants will represent the ninth standalone Chick-fill-A and third Freddy’s locations in the Twin Cities.
Towards the center of the site, the 6,000-square-foot Stone Mountain Retail Center is proposed to have three or four retail restaurant tenants, with two to three proposed patios in case the users are restaurants.
A proposed 3,000-square-foot office building would potentially host one or two professional users.
Decorative fencing will be incorporated throughout the development, particularly to separate the development from Zane Avenue.
The approval comes after previous development plans fell through. In 2015, the council approved a development plan and conditional-use permits for several buildings on the site, but shortly after approval some of the users backed out of the development.
Architects for the project collaborated to ensure use of similar stone, brick and paint colors on buildings in the development.
An unaffiliated Burger King location has already been approved on the southeast corner of the lot.
“I am excited about this entire project,” said Councilmember Lisa Jacobson. “I know that we hear from residents who say, ‘Not another drive thru,’ and as [planning director Cindy Sherman] just alluded to, even Panera is putting in drive-thrus now. It’s a different world now, and we can’t control who comes to our city with a restaurant,” she said.
“I think I would be the biggest critic on design, and I just want to say thank you to Stone Mountain for the way the buildings look – the different features you put with your buildings that are just different and not stand-up box buildings,” Councilmember Mark Mata said.
Both Freddy’s and Chick-fill-A will have drive-thrus. The Chick-fill-A drive-thru is proposed to feature an overhang where employees would take orders and payment rather than an intercom system. Both restaurants will also have patios.
Resident feedback on the project has been mixed, with the majority of residents writing to oppose the addition of more fast food restaurants in the area rather than a fast casual or sit-down style restaurant.
“One thing I know, no one I’ve heard from is looking for more fast food and chain establishments,” wrote resident Lisa Severson.
“I would hope that we do not have a proliferation of merely fast food, low-cost franchises coming to the vacant spaces,” wrote resident Chris Jones. “If people are paying $3-500k for their houses, or renting in the higher cost properties, I think it is fair to assume that their palate is a little more discerning also, and that they might have the money and desire to spend it on things other than steakburgers and shakes.”
The Planning Commission recommended the council approve the development, although the development plan and preliminary plat recommendations were approved in a 6-3 vote.
The site will be accessed by Xenia and 100th Avenues.