Our Program on Tuesday, August 1st was Dan Johnson discussing the One West Drive Development in Excelsior on the property of the old city headquarters and the west parking lot.  Dan started by letting us know that he and his family have been part of the community his whole life.  His family lived in Tonka Bay and he attended Minnetonka Schools.  Hey, he was one of Steve Frazier’s 8th grade students!  He has a great loyalty to Excelsior and lives in town.  He loves the small town feel of Excelsior and owns 10 retail businesses and homes in town.  Dan is a partner in the Red Leaf Investment and Real Estate Development.  He has worked on projects all over the country and particularly likes ventures in towns to help them maintain their character and homey home town feeling.
His current project is One West Drive as mentioned above and will have 50 units, a two and a half story structure with multi-family dwellings of 1-2-and 3 bedrooms and 11 row-house dwellings, parking lots for 330 vehicles (79 private & 251 Public) above and below ground.  Dan was wonderfully flexible as our club members ask him questions regarding the technical, mechanical and environmental aspects of the projects.  Important to understand is that the financing of the project with the city is by tax-revenue financing with the apartment complexes anticipated to bring in some 10 milling in tax revenues.  The project has had some unanticipated cost of over a million dollars to haul away contaminated soil of the 35 foot hole.  Dan responded to the effect on the water table by explaining that test drilling of the aquafer showed it to be 50 feet and well below the development and they expended over $400,000 in storm-drain infrastructure along with other city requirements.
Moving on Dan talked about some of the other projects in town and his desire to promote retail businesses along with specialty shops.  Specifically he mentioned the Maple Inn renovation to keep its historical presence, Layline Restaurant on the old Gary’s 1st Class Car Care property  on water and 3rd Street, and Nautical Bowls (in Ron Hugh’s old Minnetonka Printing Bldg.)  He ended with his desire to acquire local properties and to help keep the appeal of a vital downtown area in a walkable two block area as Excelsior has become an attraction to the much larger metropolitan area.