A Brainerd strip mall is getting a significant facelift.
In a tight spot after last summer's road construction on Washington Street, the strip mall next to the Fourth Street intersection where MicroNet once had office space, is under the cosmetic and structural knife of Kuepers Construction Inc.
The Baxter-based design/build firm is taking off 24 feet of the building's east end to create more parking. And workers are changing the building's look with a new store front of cultured stone and stucco.
The project is expected to be completed by June 1.
Kuepers Construction's renovation of the strip mall on Washington Street will dramatically change the buildings appearance. The project is expected to be completed by June 1. (Drawing courtesy of Kuepers Inc.)
The business building has both tenants and free space. And the facelift is expected to make the space more attractive to potential shoppers of retail or office space in the area.
Speculation has continued about Caribou Coffee putting in another location in Baxter. Tom Berzinski, Caribou Coffee vice president of store development, said they have looked at potential sites, but do not have a deal at this point. He said nothing has been finalized, but they are interested in the area when a good piece of real estate presents itself.
China Garden, a Chinese and Japanese restaurant, is proposed for development on an open site just north of Slumberland along Highway 371. But there are few details available from the owners about the eatery other than a sign proclaiming its future home at that location. More information will be available as the project moves through the city of Baxter for permits.
Brainerd Lakes Sleep Health Center opened at Brainerd Medical Center near Buffalo Hills. The Sleep Center performs evaluations for sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and insomnia. The center consists of four upscale sleeping rooms with TV, private bath and shower and lounge.
Rhythm of the Rails representatives Jody Crowe and Dave Anderson spoke to the Southeast Brainerd Residents Association about the possibility of the group relocating into "the hole" -- the green space near the intersection of 13th Street Southeast and Washington Avenue and across from Franklin Junior High School.
The bowl, now about 6-1/2 acres of undeveloped green space with trees, grass and occasional deer, is flanked by Washington Street and 13th Street Southeast. The deepest center of the bowl is about 30 feet below the street level.
In the fall of 2000, the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Board heard a presentation on turning the area into a water park. The aquatic project was expected to cost $8 million. The conversation went to the city council.
In 2000, the major concern was whether there was enough parking for an aquatic park using the Franklin school parking lot. Alternate sites for a water park were discussed. At the time of the water park discussion, the parks board chairman said an outdoor city pool was probably one of the most requested things in the city.
Some residents have expressed a desire to retain the spot with its greenery as there are limited green spaces along Washington Street in general. The Rhythm of the Rails idea is to have a natural amphitheater at the site.
SEBRA agreed to write letters of support and help with the project.
"A wonderful tourist attraction near to downtown and close to the future trails would be a tremendous benefit to southeast Brainerd," SEBRA reported in its latest newsletter --Frogtown News & Views.
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