Environmental Story

5121 Winnetka Ave N

Environmental Story

5121 Winnetka Ave N

What a difference a year makes…

In the summer of 2010, Scott Tankenoff, the Managing Partner of Hillcrest Development, toured the industrial warehouse at 5121 Winnetka Avenue North in New Hope. Beneath its dreary appearance, Tankenoff recognized opportunity.

In many ways, the 5121 Winnetka Avenue North building was a mess—a contaminated, inefficient, underutilized property, and an eyesore in the surrounding neighborhood. Years of use as a ceramics manufacturing center had left significant lead contamination. Insufficient maintenance and poor layouts had created unattractive and dysfunctional spaces. Yet the building’s size, core physical characteristics, and location hinted at a greater potential. As specialists in contaminated site redevelopment, Hillcrest Development understood the logistics of rehabilitating such a challenging property and knew the building could be a success while revitalizing the neighborhood.

That fall, we approached the City of New Hope to see what assistance it could offer. The City quickly saw this as an opportunity to work with Hillcrest Development to create a model process for redeveloping vulnerable or vacant properties.

In the winter of 2010-2011, Hillcrest Development and the City of New Hope applied for funding from the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities program. The Livable Communities program supports healthy communities through funding affordable housing initiatives, mixed-use redevelopment, and the cleanup of brownfields and other polluted sites. While competition for the brownfield cleanup funds is extremely competitive, the 5121 Winnetka project scored high enough to receive a sizable grant.

Utilizing the environmental expertise of Braun Intertec, Hillcrest Development was able to clean up the pollution and redevelop the site within just five months. The 5121 Winnetka building reopened in the spring of 2011.

Today, a visitor to the site will experience a completely re-designed, bright, clean, attractive, functional, and healthy work space. The renovated building has secured new tenants and brought dozens of new jobs to the community.

Address: 5121 Winnetka Avenue, New Hope

Built: Circa 1970s

Building size: Approximately 102,615 SF

Prior uses: Manufacturing/assembly of ceramic materials and related components

Re-development timeline: January 2011 – June 2011

Fact: Over 60 living wage jobs now exist at 5121 Winnetka Avenue versus approximately 15 living wage jobs under previous property ownership.

Abated contaminants: Indoor pollution: dust and lead residue, asbestos-containing materials

Grant support:  $443,150 awarded from the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities Tax Base Revitalization Account (TBRA) in January 2011

For more information, contact Scott M. Tankenoff.