Planning for Ambulatory Care Center will resume in the fall

U is no longer contemplating use of eminent domain on remaining Block 11 properties.

Project planning will resume in the fall for the Ambulatory Care Center on Block 12 in Prospect Park, just a few blocks south of Washington Avenue, though no timetable is set for breaking ground on the five-story building. The project is a partnership between University of Minnesota Physicians , Fairview Health Services and the University . In September, The Minnesota Daily reported that they could break ground on the site âÄîsurrounded by Fulton, Ontario, Essex and Erie streets southeast âÄî as early as spring 2009. Fairview spokeswoman Jennifer Amundson said that, while planning will resume, there wonâÄôt be shovels in the ground in the fall. University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said the project has slowed down because of the financial situation of those involved. âÄúLike most things in the country right now, everyoneâÄôs financial situation has weakened considerably âĦ the project is still a priority for the University, still a priority for Fairview, but I donâÄôt think thereâÄôs a date certain at all,âÄù Pfutzenreuter said. Orlyn Miller, the UniversityâÄôs director of capital planning, said the UniversityâÄôs only contributions to the project were the land âÄî which is currently a surface parking lot âÄî and utility services for the site. This means Fairview is responsible for the construction of the center, a figure that Pfutzenreuter said he has heard estimates in the $200 million range. Block 11 One block west of the site for the Ambulatory Care Center, only half of the buildings remain on Block 11. The other half were purchased and demolished by the University. The Daily reported in December that the University was aggressively seeking to purchase the remainder of the buildings on the block and were sending letters to property owners threatening the use of eminent domain to acquire the land by force. Pfutzenreuter said the University still wants to own the entire block, but itâÄôs not a priority. Rebekah Lorence is a long-time resident of the area around the two blocks, known as the Motley neighborhood âÄî a small area inside the Prospect Park neighborhood contained by Essex Street on the north, Huron Boulevard on the east, East River Road on the south and Oak Street on the west. Lorence is the chair of the Motley Crew, a subgroup of the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association that was charged with drafting a vision for the Motley area. The vision will be presented to the University to let them know what the neighborhood wants for the area in hopes that they can work together moving forward. Lorence said everyone who remains on Block 11 wants to stay there and even though the University is looming, people are hopeful that they can preserve the remaining buildings. Even though Lorence said the construction of the Ambulatory Care Center is inevitable, the neighborhood is not happy about its construction. But, she said, they were more concerned with what happened on Block 11. âÄúWeâÄôre not excited about a five-story building thatâÄôs a full city block. ItâÄôs going to really change the neighborhood, but the change came when they started tearing down all those houses,âÄù she said. Jared Gustafson is a third-year graduate student in the School of Dentistry and the house manager of Delta Sigma Delta , a dental fraternity located on Block 11. Gustafson said the last letter they received from the University trying to acquire their house was in October, but they were offered the value of the house, not the value of the entire property. Gustafson said the location is important to the fraternity because of its proximity to the dental school. He said the situation is difficult for their fraternity because itâÄôs an old house, and they would like to make improvements to try to attract more members, but they feel like they are in limbo because they are afraid the house might be torn down in five or 10 years. Pfutzenreuter said there is no project planned for Block 11, but he said the Ambulatory Care Center will need parking. âÄúWhen [the University] acquires a big block like that, it typically will put parking down,âÄù Pfutzenreuter said. âÄúWeâÄôre always losing surface parking on the inside parts of the campus to construction.âÄù