Arden Hills megaproject appears headed for City Council approval

The 427-acre megaproject in Arden Hills appeared to be heading for approval Monday night after a prolonged and at times tense discussion.

The town center project as proposed last summer by the master developer for the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site, known as TCAAP, came in more urban in feel than city officials had expected, with buildings twice as high as the city’s five-story maximum.

Council members struggled Monday night to reach a compromise on density that would allow for the unanimous 5-0 vote that Alatus LLC chief Bob Lux had said he wanted, out of concern for the aura around the project.

If there’s a 4-1 vote, he said, “the headlines will be about the one, not the four, and it challenges us on the commercial side,” with potential clients leery of controversy. “Five to zero would help.”

But, based on discussions Monday night, it looked as though 4-1 might well be the final tally. There’s a public hearing Dec. 7, and a final vote Dec. 19.

A major topic of discussion was the discovery that the first-class system of parks being proposed for the project comes with a price tag of up to $19 million, which could end up costing each new living unit $11,000, city officials were told Monday.

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