Edina plans 'The Crossroads' towers, bridge over France Avenue

- France Avenue between the Crosstown and 494 has long been one of Edina's economic engines. But the area is now at a crossroads as it faces the future.

"It's really what you'd call a rebirth, a re-transformation or invention of Southdale," Dean Dovolis of DJR Architecture said.

Dovolis helped develop the master plan for a new project proposed for the corner of France and Gallagher called "The Crossroads."

The $100 million development would have two towers with retail, a wellness center and office space, along with condos and apartments.

The towers would be connected by a bike bridge over France Avenue that would be the missing link in a 15-mile regional bike trail.

Dovolis said the bike bridge would be one of a kind.

"They estimate there will be half a million rides on this thing annually. So the idea of tying this in really gives people another choice of getting around," Dovolis said.

Crossroads isn't the only project that could change the face of the Southdale area over the next few years.

The city has already approved The Avenue On France that will add a medical office building, shops, apartments and a hotel across the street from the mall.

Then the proposed Estelle Edina development wants to build two art deco condo towers near the Galleria.

Plus Lifetime is planning to replace the JCPenneys store in Southdale with a beach club, complete with a rooftop pool.

And Restoration Hardware wants to add a 3-to-4 story standalone store in the southwest corner of the mall property with its own atrium and restaurant inside.

"As much as Southdale was revolutionary when Victor Groom put it together in the 50's, these will be revolutionary in terms of the new generation of how people want to live and experience urban environments," Dovolis said.

The Crossroads project has been submitted to the city.

The developers hope to go through the approval process this fall, and if all goes well, construction could start as early as next year.

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