Malcolm Yards development to be a community within Prospect Park neighborhood

Courtesy of John Ellerd

Courtesy of John Ellerd

J.D. Duggan

An ambitious development in Prospect Park will create a new neighborhood within a neighborhood, offering mixed-income housing along with an urban food hall and commercial space.

Malcolm Yards, a long-planned project by Wall Companies, is beginning phase-one of development in coming weeks. Phase one’s three buildings on the northwest side of Prospect Park include a renovation of the dilapidated Harris Machinery building into an urban food hall, as well as the creation of a mixed-use commercial and market-rate residential building and a six-story, 130-unit affordable housing building.

“We’ve waited a long time for a project that was worthy of an amazing site like this next to the University of Minnesota,” said John Wall, president of Wall Companies in an emailed statement. Wall Companies has owned approximately 20 acres of property in the area since the early 2000s.

Phase one, spanning approximately five acres, will consist primarily of studios and 1- and 2-bedroom units and was originally pitched as a “University-related research park,” said Jeff Ellerd, project manager for Wall Companies.

“Now we’re still very hopeful and want to do more mixed-use [development] that generates jobs and businesses and innovation,” Ellerd said. 

Connection to surrounding communities is a large focus for the Malcolm Yards development, which is situated just west of Malcolm Avenue and north of the University of Minnesota transitway, adjacent to Surly Brewing.

Plans include intersecting the site with a Greenway bike path and adding a park to the south side of the transitway. Ellerd said this will make the area less auto-intensive and turns the space into a destination for bikers and pedestrians.

“Our hope is that this becomes its own neighborhood that anybody can… live in,” Ellerd said. “We want people to get here and use [it] and live here and be able to do all the things they want to do in this neighborhood.”

Malcolm Yards Market, the urban food hall in the repurposed Harris Building, will offer a 16,500 square-foot communal dining space with niche, small food vendors. The anticipated vendors will be a variety of local chefs offering new and unique takes on dishes, Ellerd said in an email.

John Kari, co-chair of the Prospect Park Association Planning and Land Use Committee, said the project fits the neighborhood’s vision for mixed-use development and bringing jobs and amenities to the community, although not necessarily the jobs the neighborhood hopes for.

“The first phase of what Wall is proposing for [includes] important amenities and support services for jobs, but it doesn’t get us the jobs we want,” Kari said. “So we’re interested in the whole [property] being developed as an integrated whole, and this first phase moves us in that direction, but we want to see the jobs.”

PPA’s Wall Task Force is engaged in ongoing discussions with stakeholders. Wall Companies hopes to submit their proposal to the Minneapolis City Planning Commission in mid-July, with a tentative hearing slated for the Aug. 2 Committee of the whole meeting.