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Gold Line could remove movie theater, create new Woodbury neighborhood

21February 2021

The Gold Line in Woodbury is going to be more than a few bus stops.

The project will remove a movie theater, add hundreds of apartments, build a $70 million parking ramp, put businesses on more than 10 acres and create a new neighborhood in an overlooked part of the city.

At least, that’s the plan.

“The city is now in the visioning process,” said city planner Eric Searles, who presented the concept plan to the Woodbury City Council at their Wednesday meeting.

The Gold Line is a proposed 10-mile rapid-transit bus line, running from Woodbury through Oakdale to downtown St. Paul. The $530 million project hasn’t been approved yet, but the concept plan is helping to imagine how it could change Woodbury.

“The Gold Line is a unique opportunity to help commercial development,” said Searles.

According to the plan, the Woodbury 10 Theatre would be demolished. Searles said the property is owned by the Metropolitan Council, which supports the construction of the Gold Line.

The theater’s 9-acre site would be split into 7 acres of high-density housing and a 2-acre city park.

The plan calls for housing to fit the mission of the Gold Line — to provide local transportation, especially for households without cars.

Planners would like workers in the future to be able to walk from their apartments to bus stations, where they would have access to jobs, stores and services.

Toward that goal, more businesses and high-density apartments would be built on Bielenberg Drive north of the Tamarack Hills mall. Two parcels totaling 25 acres have been identified as potential building sites.

The plan calls for redeveloping a site at Valley Creek Road and Bielenberg Drive, now occupied by a Wells Fargo Bank. That 5-acre site could be redeveloped, said Searles, possibly with a smaller bank building.

At the western end of the line, the building boom would continue.

A $70 million parking ramp and $40 million Washington County service center have been proposed on Guider Drive near Woodlane Drive.

A new entry ramp to northbound Interstate 494 would be added, for the use of government vehicles.

From that site heading south along Woodlane, the city would build improved walkways for pedestrians headed to bus stations.

The plan did not specify future uses for the HOM Furniture site, on Interstate 94 near Bielenberg. But the plan identified it as a site for possible future development. HOM plans to vacate that site and move to a new facility in Oakdale.

“We just raised HOM for a future conversation,” said Searles.

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