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Rosemount envisions growth on UMore Park land

An illustration of proposed development of UMore Park property in Rosemount. Submitted art

When news broke recently that the University of Minnesota will sell 436 acres of land in the UMore Park area of Rosemount, the good news reverberated around City Hall.

"To see progress and movement is a good thing and it could potentially mean 1,200 homes and more commercial land for development," Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste said of the land south of Dakota County Technical College.

Besides the 435 acres, many acres of land will be turned into future commercial and industrial park development in Rosemount in years to come.

"The U has been working on an RFP on and off for many years," said Rosemount City Administrator Logan Martin.

"We have been working with them for the last 12 years on the whole UMore Park," Droste said. "They have done a lot of studying and testing and they began the gravel mining that is 1,700 acres on the west side.

Dakota County is projected to grow by 110,000 residents by the year 2040, the mayor said.

"This large piece of land will have significance on the county and city as it has been sitting idle for more than 60 years," Droste said.

Last year, Opus Development agreed to pay $14 million for the first piece of land at UMore Park.

"They have a 10-year option on this 160 acres and so our understanding is that Opus certainly has a vision for those 160 acres as the developer, and they are engaging a separate marketer to start to roll out their marketing to acquire large users for that piece of property," Martin said.

The plan is that Opus will take down acres as they go forward and buy acres from the University as the companies acquires users for the land development.

City leaders said it's too soon to speculate what type of industry the property will attract.

"The wind research turbines could be a business or some kind of distribution center that is quite demanding in a metropolitan area," Droste said.

Added Martin: "When the 3,000 acres and such a significant piece of land is within our city and when it will move into development, this will have a significant impact on residents and is exciting."

Droste spoke of how repeated city surveys report how Rosemount residents want more retail and support services within city limits that can be found in more urban areas.

Besides retail, the future growth will allow the city to address needs of its aging demographic and be better able to provide adequate, diverse housing, Droste said.

"This will be tremendous and we will be able to make sure we have housing for our workforce, seniors, maintenance-free housing and single family housing, said Droste, who works in real estate.

Besides retail and housing growth, the city may be in need of more transit services when the residential development booms in years to come. Currently, the city of Rosemount is home to one park-and-ride location.

The area parks and trails will also be addressed and may be affected in years to come in the surrounding areas of Rosemount and the county.

"We can step back and look at the county regional plan for the trails system down from the Vermillion Highlands, up to Lebanon Hills and over to the Mississippi, so we can look at how we connect with roads and trails and the open spaces — it will be great, fun challenges," Droste said.

Officials are excited about the opportunity.

"It has been the desire of this community and the city for so long, and now to see the U come in line — we will do all this together," Martin said. "It is developing a whole new city within our city and is kind of post-recession, and it is a chance to plan this out intelligently and address the life cycle of housing and all the generational needs we can plan all of this out now."

At a glance

The University of Minnesota will sell 435.54 acres of UMore Park land for development. The city of Rosemount will be actively engaged in the residential development. The land will be marketed with a request for proposal process.

The estimated RFP timeline will be finalized and issued this summer and proposals will be evaluated in early fall.

The University Board of Regents will approve plans by late 2017 and early 2018.