RICHFIELD, Minn. (KMSP) - The city of Richfield is enjoying a redevelopment boom like they’ve never seen before with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects underway right now.
The last time Richfield had a development surge anything close to this was close to the turn of the century when the Best Buy headquarters came to town.
Since the recession, things have been slow for a decade, but now that things are booming, city leaders say the opportunities just keep coming their way.
“I think the people that have lived in Richfield a long time think of it as a well-kept secret,” said City Manager Steve Devich. “And we are just excited folks are starting to cue in.”
The largest redevelopment project currently in motion is the $43 million Chamberlain, which is on its way to creating more than 300 housing units, including affordable housing.
Also, there are plans to drastically improve or rebuild several single family homes. Everywhere you look, construction is happening across Richfield.
“In my many, many years - 38 years in Richfield - there has never been this sort of sustained interest, and it’s all the way across the city,” said Mayor Pat Elliot.
Devich and Elliott point out their city is enjoying more than $200 million worth of redevelopment projects.
The city credits a combination of factors, from long-term city planning, to a healthy economy to close proximity to the airport and good schools.
Developers say Richfield is safe bet and often more affordable than Minneapolis bordering to the north.
“We are benefiting from really creative developers and people that are really interested in putting in housing stock that fits everybody’s needs,” said Elliot. “So that’s what’s exciting for us. They come to us and we have the benefit of saying yes.”
Separate from the $200 million being invested, Richfield is also undertaking its only multimillion dollar infrastructure improvements.
Decisions along the way have been hard and no one expects the current pace to last forever. City leaders say, for now, great opportunities just keep coming their way.
“Redevelopments like this, infrastructure investments, that will help us ward off that next recession. To have a strong, diversifying tax payers to have better infrastructure now helps us prepare for when things aren’t so good later,” said City Councilor Michael Howard.
In the past couple of years, Richfield has been one of the hottest real estate markets in the metro.
Bordering Minneapolis to the south and working to entice people that still want to be close to the city, developers are taking notice.