After some squabbling with the Minnetonka City Council and a couple of extensions, Chabad Minneapolis broke ground on their new building Sunday afternoon. The site is partially cleared, and four of the five houses that had been on the site have been purchased; the sale on the last house should close in early November.
“The staff was tremendous,” said Rabbi Mordechai Grossbaum, the director of Chabad Minneapolis, said of the Minnetonka staff. “They really were they were straightforward. They were fair, and each step of the way, they looked at the law and that’s why they were behind us.
“We’re where we are today with God’s help, and I pray there won’t be a won’t be lag between breaking ground and actually get a bulldozer out there and make things happen.”
Grossbaum is hopeful that the construction is done within 15 months, although he realizes current supply chain issues may create delays once the orders for steel, windows, and fixtures, for example, are made.
Chabad, which currently is in an office park near the southeast corner of Cedar Lake Road and Hopkins Crossroad, is building off of Hopkins Crossroad and Hillside Lane West. A new street will be created between Vernon and Hopkins Crossroad on the south side of Hillside.
Grossbaum said, at the March 2019 City Council meeting when the plan was approved, that the repeated denials of their plans led to a better product that was approved.
The original site plan called for purchasing two properties and building on that site, but the council turned that one down. A second failed bid at council came when a third property was added to the plan. Both of the plans would have had a driveway that exited out onto Hopkins Crossroad.
“I came up with the idea that if we go out (onto Hillside), the challenges that the challenges that some of the neighbors had about traffic and all the other safety questions, would be a better option,” Grossbaum said.
The approved design of the building will be one story rather than two and cover four lots. The fifth lot will be for a future single-family home. There is plenty of screening in the design to create buffers between the Chabad property and the neighboring homes.
“At the end of the day, with God’s help, we raised the money for it and got the building up. It’s a far nicer building and a better setup and I guess the extra effort and the extra money will pay off,” he said. “It’ll be a much nicer project to the community and for the neighborhood. And that’s a good thing.”