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GreenStep City Best Practices Buildings and Lighting

Building Redevelopment
no. 5

Create economic and regulatory incentives for redevelopment and repurposing of existing buildings.
  Best Practice Action 5      [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]       [all actions]

Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.

  • Infill Score is an on-line self-assessment tool for cities to (1) gauge the degree to which city policies and stragegies facilitate development of vacant land, and (2) learn about 30 strategies and policies that can accelerate infill, redevelopment and community revitalization.
  • The ULI-MN (Re)Development Ready Guide for cities outlines development policies and practices (including brownfield remediation) to attract private investment, grow jobs, support a full range of housing choices, and build tax base for the well-being of the city.
  • “Fill the gap” programs for vacant and underutilized downtown (mostly commercial) buildings tend to have these simple/cheap elements: (1) maintain a current and public inventory of ‘opportunity sites’; (2) coordinate with local and county economic development staff and local lenders; (3) install temporary/semi-permanent uses such as green space (flowers, vegetables gardens), event space (farmer’s market, arts and crafts market, art exhibit space), play area (with or without a public restroom); outdoor siting and eating (benches, food truck location, beer garden), transport/information area (bike parking, kiosks, mid-block alley connection).
  • Build a Better Burb is the online journal for suburban design and redesign. It began with a focus on retrofitting suburban downtowns on Long Island (NY) and has expanded to include manuals and engaging visuals to help suburban residents and leaders explore solutions from across the country that can be applied to their communities.
  • Articles, events, thoughts and resources on Sprawl Repair - guidance for transforming fragmented, isolated and car-dependent development into complete communities. See also the short Mall Retrofit plan for small, efficient steps, creating cheap space for incubating new businesses and artisan uses, as well as providing affordable student housing.
  • Designing strucures that can be adapted for different future uses is an art of the past. For example, when parking ramps first emerged they were designed so they could be turned into warehouses and offices by having flat floors and high ceilings.
Adopt design standards that address the downtown core and encourage compatible infill development; parking standards waived to recognize on-street & shared parking facilities; repurpose vacant/underutilized downtown sites as green space, event space, play areas, outdoor siting and eating, transport/information areas. Report infill incentives under action 7.4
Small houses (~500 sq.ft.) allowed under CUP on non-conforming vacant city lots; standards facilitate the evolution of strip/large format commercial areas into more livable/walkable neighborhoods with a mix of land use and including gathering places.
Limit annexations or infrastructure extensions until infill and redevelopment goals are met; encourage building, mall and parking ramp design such that structures can be adapted for different future uses.


Date action report first entered:   05/08/2012

Implementation details:
In 1999, Burnsville adopted development and design standards for it's downtown core, known as the Heart of the City district (HOC). The HOC Design Standards facilitate the evolution of strip/large format commercial areas into more liveable/walkable neighborhoods. A large KMart Store used to be located on southwest of Highway 13 and Nicollet Avenue. That area site was redeveloped with mixed use commercial and high density residential, following the HOC Design Standards.

            view file

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions


Date action report first entered:   11/28/2017
Date of last report update:   11/28/2017
Year action initially completed:   2013
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
The City of Fridley has both a Planned Unit Development and a Redevelopment zoning classification that address commercial districts and encourage compatible infill development. Redevelopment of the Fridley Market from an under-utilized, over-parked shopping center occurred under Planned Unit Development zoning. This redevelopment has been instrumental for the commercial revitalization of 57th Avenue. The former Naval Industrial Ordnance Plant was a 122-acre Superfund site. The City rezoned the property as R2-Redevelopment and assisted the developer with financing options. As a result, the site underwent voluntary cleanup and the Northern Stacks development was constructed. This industrial distribution and office/warehouse business park is the largest infill commercial redevelopment in Minnesota.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.fridley.mn.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/490

View All Fridley Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/03/2013

Implementation details:
The City of Mankato adopted urban design guidelines, which are facilitated through the zoning ordinance through establishment of Downtown Design District and Gateway Overlay Districts. The design recommendations outlined in the Urban Design Guidelines will foster improvements to individual projects, strengthen the traditional character of Downtown, and shape the Hilltop area into a more cohesive marketplace and focus of community activity. Additionally, the City maintains Orderly Annexation Agreements with all three abutting townships (Mankato, Lime, and South Bend) which limits or prohibits new urban development to allow for planned, controlled provision of services, utilities, and amenities to these area as they are eventually annexed into the City of Mankato. The agreements were initially drafted in 1995 and were amended and extended by mutual partnership of the City and township staff in 2012/2013. Example agreement with Lime Township (north of City of Mankato) attached.

Descriptive links: http://www.mankato-mn.gov/UrbanDesign/Default.aspx             view file

For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff)   |   mwestman@mankatomn.gov   |   507-387-8571

View All Mankato Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   02/15/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
All development in Richfield is infill. The City has prepared master plans with design standards for all of its major commercial areas: Lakes at Lyndale (Richfield's downtown), Lyndale Gateway, 66th Street, the Penn Avenue corridor, Cedar Ave. corridor (MN Hwy 77), and the I-494 corridor.

For more information contact:
Melissa Poehlman (City staff)   |   MPoehlman@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619766

View All Richfield Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/01/2014
Date of last report update:   10/13/2014

Implementation details:
The city of Brainerd is one of the first in the state to have adopted a "small house" conditional use permit option, as a tool to help encourage infill development on non conforming vacant city lots. New houses as small as 500sf will be permitted to be built on a conditional use permit basis.

For more information contact:
Sarah Hayden Shaw (Community volunteer)   |   sjhaay@gmail.com   |   218-760-6837

View All Brainerd Actions

Coon Rapids

Date action report first entered:   12/31/2014
Date of last report update:   12/31/2014

Implementation details:
Coon Rapids has been working hard on redeveloping Coon Rapids Boulevard industrial area since 2000. The Framework Plan presents ideas for redevelopment and enhancement through 2020. It outlines plans for concentrating new neighborhood commercial uses, offices and higher density housing for infill. It defines four PORTS (Preservation Or Renovation Tract) to function as zoning districts for defined areas and establish land use, site and architectural standards. Each PORT is designed to meet the needs of that area in relation to existing infrastructure including a business park, the Coon Rapids Dam, Anoka Ramsey Community College and Mercy Hospital. Since adopting the framework, several new developments have taken place and the city has worked to acquire properties to spur redevelopment.

Descriptive links: http://coonrapidsmn.gov/economicdev/crbdevelopment.htm

For more information contact:
Colleen Sinclair (City staff)   |   csinclair@coonrapidsmn.gov   |   763-767-6485

View All Coon Rapids Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/13/2011
Date of last report update:   05/01/2015

Implementation details:
Maplewood has adopted the development and design standards of the International Green Construction Code to facilitate infill and development in residential and commercial areas. THis construction code is guiding the planning of the upcoming Gladstone redevelopment area. This area will contain a large mix of residential, senior living, and strip/large commercial areas that are close to transportation trail options. This redevelopment is expected to greatly reinvigorate the area. The planning is expected to be finished in Mid-2015.

For more information contact:
Jason Brash (City staff)   |   Jason.brash@maplewoodmn.gov   |   651-249-2324

View All Maplewood Actions


Date action report first entered:   07/26/2012

Implementation details:
Oakdale has adopted a concept plan and design standards for the city's largest redevelopment site, the former Oakdale Mall. This nearly-empty, blighted mall sat on 18 acres and was an eyesore in one of the most traveled areas of the city. The city purchased the property and tore the mall down in 2011. The site is now known as Tartan Crossing, and will be a mixed-use development incorporating senior housing, office, and retail space with a focus on walkability and incorporating green space into urban design.

For more information contact:
Jen Hassebroek (City staff)   |   jen.hassebroek@ci.oakdale.mn.us   |   651-730-2723

View All Oakdale Actions

Red Lake Band of Chippewa

Date action report first entered:   10/11/2016
Date of last report update:   11/08/2016

Implementation details:
This housing retrofit project consists of 40 single family houses, 10 houses in each of the four communities in the Red Lake Tribal Nation that are being gutted, and repurposed with new flooring, windows, insolation, furness’s, central air, and water and sewer systems. Each house is going to be EnergyStar rated. The contract work is being done by Norson Construction. This Project includes the installation of EnergyStar-Rated clothes washers, dishwashers, and refrigerators and lighting fixtures and ceiling fans if needed as well as roofing that is Energy Star compliant. All interior paints will meet the MPI and Green Seal standards for VOC’s. After the retrofit is complete and before the tenants can move back in, they will be given a guide that explains intent, benefits, use, and maintenance of the green building features.

Descriptive links: http://www.redlakenation.org/tribal-programs/infrastructure/housing-authority             view file

Housing Authority, Red Lake Tribal Council, Norson Construction, Red Lake Nation TERO

View All Red Lake Band of Chippewa Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/01/2011

Implementation details:
Proposed development on the two key blocks on 1st Ave between 4th and 6th Street SW characterizes the type of urban design appropriate for this unique street within the Downtown. The architecture and development decisions coupled with major infrastructure improvements work in concert to create a distinct street profile for the area of 1st Avenue from Peace Plaza all the way south to the future UMR campus.

Outcome measures/metrics:
The streetscape is designed to provide abundant opportunities for seating and outdoor gathering in warmer weather, to minimize the presence of cars, and maximize pedestrian comfort. Bump-outs at the end and middle of each block provide additional space within the pedestrian zone between the building edge and curb. Abundant trees with space for tables and seating placed between them accommodate outdoor dining for the restaurants that will be focused along this street. Additional amenities are also designed within the pedestrian zone including specialized paving and lighting fixtures that give identity to the district.

Descriptive links: http://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/planning_zoning/pdf/RDMP_Report_Final-8-2010_web.pdf

For more information contact:
Jeff Ellerbusch (City staff)   |   ellerbusch.jeff@CO.OLMSTED.MN.US   |   507-328-7132

View All Rochester Actions

Saint Anthony

Date action report first entered:   05/05/2011

Implementation details:
The City of St. Anthony has succesfully redeveloped the former Apache Plaza Mall into a multi-land use and commuter friendly livable community. It includes the following: 1. Commercial Retail 2. Restaurant 3. Parks 4. Stormwater treatement 5. Sidewalks 6. Pathways 7. Public Art 8. Ampitheater 9. Multi-family housing 10. Senior housing 11. Low income housing 12. Single family townhomes 13. Condominiums

For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff)   |   jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us   |   612-782-3314

View All Saint Anthony Actions

Sauk Rapids

Date action report first entered:   03/03/2013

Implementation details:
An architectural committee developed standards for infill development to maintain the architectural and traditional character of existing neighborhoods. The City’s Housing Advisory Committee reviews plans for conformity. The City’s Downtown Business District ordinance includes design and development standards to facilitate new development and redevelopment.

For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer)   |   mpp03@charter.net   |   320-258-5300

View All Sauk Rapids Actions

Belle Plaine

Date action report first entered:   04/10/2018
Date of last report update:   04/11/2018
Year action initially completed:   2008
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has placed urban design requirements into effect through long-range planning documents (2040 Comprehensive Plan Update required for submittal to Metropolitan Council by end of year) and local controls including the zoning code. Within the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, local controls must be updated for consistency with comprehensive plans. The zoning code provides for mixed uses as a right within several zoning classifications and provides for mixed uses on a contract-type basis through a planned unit development. In addition the City has developed a "Design Manual" which focuses specifically on commercial nodes and corridors. The City has orderly annexation agreements (OAA) in place with Blakeley and Belle Plaine Townships. Combined the area subject to OAA is coterminous with the City's municipal urban service area (MUSA) as contained in the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan includes staging plans supported by a capital improvement plan.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In 2015 the City authorized a mixed commercial and residential planned unit development consisting of 23,000 sf of commercial (health-related) uses attached to 55 units of senior living. The City is currently reviewing a mixed density residential PUD (at general PUD plan/preliminary plat stage of review.

For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff)   |   lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us   |   952-873-5553

View All Belle Plaine Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/18/2014
Date of last report update:   09/07/2016

Implementation details:
Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan including planned unit development provisions for mixed-use and redevelopment projects. The planned unit development provisions allow for flexible lot sizes and frontage requirements.

For more information contact:
Anne Norris (City staff)   |   Anne.Norris@crystalmn.gov   |   763-531-1140

View All Crystal Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/13/2011

Implementation details:
The City's Comprehensive Plan has policies with respect to building on existing pedestrian facilities and enhancing and further connecting them as projects and funding permit. The City applies the policy with respect to street improvements and reconstruction in which it considers the installation of appropriate pedestrian facilities - sidewalks or trails - as each project is designed. The City has implemented pedestrian improvements in the Town Centre area and has received a grant to study additional pedestrian connections of this kind in other retail areas through the State SHIP program. In it's major mixed use redevelopment, the City is implementing a transit oriented, walkable design framework through its Cedar Grove Zoning District and Design Standards. City approved Community Transportation Trail System Policy 12-13-04

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.eagan.mn.us/upload/images/comprehensive/2030%20Comprehensive%20Plan/Appendix%20C%20-%20Trail%20Policy_low.pdf

For more information contact:
Eric MAcbeth (City staff)   |   emacbeth@cityofeagan.com   |   651/675-5330

View All Eagan Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/09/2012

Implementation details:
In 2011, Immanuel Dental built a building in the downtown on a lot that was vacant for over 2 years. The owner was the first to go through the City's new 30-working day commercial review process that included a process where building review, zoning, and site planning were reviewed within a 30-working day timeline. In this case, the owner was able to start earlier than expected before the winter season.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Building completed early and infill lot was built on.

For more information contact:
Adam Kienberger (City staff)   |   akienberger@ci.farmington.mn.us   |   651-280-6820

View All Farmington Actions

Lake Elmo

Date action report first entered:   07/10/2017
Date of last report update:   07/10/2017
Year action initially completed:   2013
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   Yes

Implementation details:
Allows the district to not only include retail, service, office, civic and public uses but residential uses as well. Renovation and infill of traditional storefront-type buildings is encouraged, and parking standards may be waived to recognize the availability of on-street and shared parking facilities

            view file

For more information contact:
Jake Foster (City staff)   |   jfoster@lakeelmo.org   |   651-747-3908

View All Lake Elmo Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   03/30/2015
Date of last report update:   11/19/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The "New Hope City Center Vision" was adopted in 2011 and provides a comprehensive vision for the redevelopment of the district. It encourages diverse and adaptable commercial spaces, mixed-used development, and transportation goals. The city's Design Guidelines are consistent with this vision. The city's 2030 Comp Plan states in the Policy Plan section (City-Wide General Goal 4 G) that the city should "examine, re-evaluate, and promote proper infill development on under-utilized parcels to ensure full land utilization." The city's design standards in the zoning code do not reference infill development.

Descriptive links: https://www.ci.new-hope.mn.us/city_hall/community_development/policies_plans

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/24/2012
Date of last report update:   04/01/2015

Implementation details:
The Land Use section of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan includes a goal to encourage infill development on vacant lots throughout the City, specifically the Old Town area. The Summer 2012 Newsletter had an article on these lots in order to encourage development and educate residents that these lots are buildable. Since 2013, there have been 4 houses built on in-fill lots and there are 2 houses being built in 2015.

Descriptive links: http://www.ci.newport.mn.us/ComprehensivePlan.php

For more information contact:
Travis Brierley (City staff)   |   tbrierley@newportmn.com   |   651-459-5677

View All Newport Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
The Commercial Design Standards that were established encourage infill and redevelopment along the commercial strip of Highway 61.

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

View All Red Wing Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/23/2013

Implementation details:
Redevelopment is addressed in the Land Use and Economic Development sections of the Comprehensive Plan. The Planned Unit Development (PUD) portion of the City Code is designed to provide developers with enough flexibility to effectively implement infill development. Per Section 24-202, paragraph F of the Woodbury City Code: “(The purpose of this article is to) facilitate developments that provide a benefit to the city as a whole, through, but not limited to…innovative public infrastructure, sustainable design,...(and) redevelopment.” The design standards for stormwater management on redevelopment sites are located in Chapter 27 Environmental Management, Division 3 Stormwater Management, Section 27-27 Stormwater Management Standards and Design Criteria, (i) Redevelopment.

For more information contact:
Mark Huonder (City staff)   |   mhuonder@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3535

View All Woodbury Actions

Fergus Falls pending

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls follows the design and development standards found within the Minnesota State Building Code.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

View All Fergus Falls Actions

White Bear Lake pending

Date action report first entered:   01/03/2013

Implementation details:
The City has not adopted any development and design standards that facilitate infill and redevelopment, but we would be open to considering any model standards that encourage building re-use.

For more information contact:
Connie Taillon (City staff)   |   ctaillon@whitebearlake.org   |   651-429-8564

View All White Bear Lake Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Erin Hanafin Berg, Director of Outreach & Policy, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota: 651-293-9047, ehberg@mnpreservation.org, http://www.mnpreservation.org