The city of Mendota Heights has agreed to pay $150,000 to the developers of Mendota Plaza in return for the relocation and reduction in size of a housing development on the site.
A four-story residential building was assigned to the southeast corner of the Plaza property in a developer's agreement signed in 2009, at the start of the mall’s overhaul.
A sanitary sewer trunk line that rests below the site would have to be moved first to allow access for maintenance and inspection.
Mendota Mall Associates, a unit of Paster Enterprises that owns the Plaza, sued the city in May, claiming that the city agreed to pay for the relocation.
The city claims that while they agreed to help with the work, they did not agree to pay for it.
The cost of moving the line is estimated to be around $300,000.
The general fund of the city, where the payment will come from, sits at about $6 million, according to Interim City Administrator John Mazzitello.
In the meantime, White Pine Assisted Living, a provider based out of Mendota Heights, has gone forward with plans for a four-story building on the site and has entered into a purchase agreement with Mendota Mall Associates. The council rejected White Pine’s building plans in August.
The waiting period before White Pine can resubmit revised plans ends at the end of the month.
Mazzitello said the settlement was crafted with the purchase agreement between Mendota Mall Associates and White Pine in mind.
"The key to a settlement, whether it's mediation or negotiation, is that both parties leave happy—at least satisfied—particularly when you have to work with them in the future, that’s really important," said council member Jack Vitelli, who was on the mediation team.
He said the payment was appropriate because in return the city avoided having to put right angles into the sewer line, and because the money will aid redesign costs that Paster faces with the new building specifications.
Friendly Hills to the south is one of the neighborhoods served by the line.
Howard Paster, president of Paster Enterprises also said he was pleased with the outcome.
“I think it’s a great thing. I think it’s a great thing for us and the city,” said Paster. “We all worked long and hard to come to a resolution. I think we’re all thrilled that it’s done with; it’s behind us, and I think the great news is we’re moving forward on the next phase of the development.”
Paster said that White Pine president Chuck Rothstein was a part of the negotiations, and the new building will have a larger footprint, allowing more units on the first floor than the units per floor in the four-story building proposed this summer.
Points of the agreement:
- The residential building will be reduced from four floors to one floor, and from 100 units to a maximum of 50 units.
- The residential building will be moved to the western edge of the residential site’s lot line, off of the sewer line.
- The date of final completion for the entire Plaza development has been moved out to Nov. 15, 2026.
- Mendota Heights will pay Mendota Malls $150,000 out of the general fund as reimbursement for loss of the property’s potential value.
- Mendota Mall has until Dec. 5 to deliver fresh plans for the footprint of the building.
- The new one-story housing development will be allowed backlit lettering signs on the Highway 110 and mall side of the building. No balconies will be required.