Posts Tagged ‘Highway 169’

Are there too many banks in Champlin or too few retail and commercial businesses?The City of Champlin staff and its residents have all questioned whether the community has too many banks. But the real question isn’t whether we have too many, but instead do we have too few retail and commercial businesses? 

Financial institutions compared: Champlin and surrounding communities
Deputy City Administrator John Cox and staff recently examined the number of financial institutions in neighboring cities and determined Champlin, in comparison, had a slightly higher number of financial institutions per capita. 

Champlin currently has 23,500 residents and seven banks, which equals 3,357 residents per bank, for example. In comparison, Anoka has 17,500 residents and seven banks or 2,500 residents per bank. (Click here to view a comparison of banks in Champlin to banks in surrounding communities, prepared by the City of Champlin)

“Unlike our neighbors, Champlin has only one major commercial district, which is situated along the highway [169] corridor,” said Cox. “All of our banks are located along this corridor and in close proximity, [and] I believe this situation feeds the perception.”

Local market research
A better comparison would show each of those cities and their number of banks—and retail and commercial businesses—in relation to Champlin’s. How many restaurants and retail businesses are located in Anoka, for example, in comparison to Champlin? Instead of approving more banks, the City might first consider attracting other businesses.   

“I suspect you’re correct that we have some business categories, in comparison, with a lesser presence,” said Cox.

To provide an accurate view, Cox is investigating market research that examines local consumer supply and demand.  “While we’re examining the market in one-, three- and five- mile concentric rings, our focus has been on the one-mile market, which best represents Champlin resident demand.”

Two more banks
The City of Champlin is currently aware of two financial institutions considering new facilities in Champlin.  One is Financial One Credit Union, which is interested in relocating from their existing building behind the Super Wash on 123rd Avenue and Ensign Avenue. The other financial institution is an unidentified national bank, according to Cox.

For more information, contact Cox at jcox@ci.champlin.mn.us or 763-923-7104.

Champlin residents: What do you think?
Does Champlin need more banks? What are your suggestions and opinions? Post them in the comments.


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Champlin Mill Pond, located on the northeast corner of Highway 169 and Hayden Lake Road in Champlin, Minnesota, has been managed as a Kid’s Fishing Pond since 1976.

A fishing pier and accessible shoreline are available to anglers. Additional park amenities include a pavilion, picnic tables, benches, grills and trail system.

More Information

Champlin Mill Pond in spring located in Champlin, MN

 Mill Pond in spring (Photo by Laurenceio)

Champlin Mill Pond in winter located in Champlin, MN

Mill Pond in winter (photo by MN Dusty Lens)

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Panera Bread Web Site PhotoI’ve written a few posts regarding the many multi-tenant commercial retail buildings that are still empty. I’ve written about other businesses that have also noted this as a concern. So, now is the time to reframe the situation: What can we do as Champlin residents? E-mail your favorite businesses that have not yet moved to the area! Tell them why we need them.

I’d like to start with my plea for Panera Bread.  Their mission is “A loaf of bread for every arm.” Well, I don’t have a loaf (do you?), so my mission is: “A loaf of bread for every arm in Champlin!” That’s right. We want a bakery—fresh bread, made-to-order sandwiches and bread bowls filled with French onion soup.

Here are a few reasons why Panera Bread should open their 26th bakery-cafe in Champlin.

  1. Champlin has no bread store, no small cafe-type restaurant. Yes, all of our coffee shops such as Caribou Coffee and Dunn Brothers offer bakery items and some sandwiches, but they are coffee shops. Champlin needs what Panera describes as a bakery-cafe with fresh bread and made-to-order sandwiches.
  2. There is a location Panera Bread could easily move into: The Highway 169 Retail Center. It has two end-unit restaurant pads with many windows, a drive through, an outdoor patio, and it faces Highway 169. According to the web site, there are more than 37,000 cars who drive by its location on a daily basis, and I can attest to that traffic because I get stuck in it on my way home each day. And, I would be willing to bet my car there is more traffic in the summer when people are headed up North to their lake homes—people who might be looking for a healthier alternative to lunch at McDonald’s or perhaps some fresh bread to take with them on their trip.

Help me out, Champlin! You want a loaf too. Post your comment on why we need Panera Bread. E-mail this link to their Contact Us page. While you are inspired, what other businesses do you think Champlin needs? Post it in the comments.

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Champlin’s Mann Theatre by Laurence JohnsonBesides eating mini burgers and drinking Newcastle Brown Ale at Maverick’s Wood Grill, I also enjoy watching a movie at Champlin’s Mann 14 Movie Theatre. And, on Fridays, as I drive north past the theatre on Highway 169 after a long day at work, I wonder: What movies are playing? And, there’s no sign, no movie-theatre-big-flashing-lights-and-marquee to inform me.

I asked Steve Mann, president and owner of Mann Theatres, based in Bloomington, why they have no marquee or movie posters on the front of the building, as most movie theatres do (view an example of the marquee on their St. Louis Park location).

The cost-benefit test: Is Champlin worth it?
Mann says his theatre was one of the first businesses to move into the commercial development between Elm Creek Parkway and 117th Avenue in Champlin—before Caribou Coffee, Moonrock Bar & Grill, and Buffalo Wild Wings were built.

At the time, Mann had used all of their allotted sign space. As the area began to develop, and Caribou Coffee and Mobil were built, he requested the City of Champlin allow him to add a new sign.

“As you drive north on 169, you can’t see the theatre from the road until you pass Caribou Coffee,” said Mann. “We wanted to build a pylon-type sign at the edge of our parking lot that would be lit at night.” After persuading the City to allow them to build it, Mann sent out a request for bids. “Needless to say, I was shocked,” he said. The bid for installation was $62,000—and that was three years ago.

How about simply adding a marquee to the face of the building above the door or hanging posters and movie times on the side of the building? Mann said posters are difficult to maintain, and he said many new theatres aren’t using traditional marquees; most now use scrolling, digital ones (which he’d prefer, but he has not yet pursued for Champlin). Each theatre is encouraged to post a list of shows and times on the front door for patrons; however, there was no sign on the door when I visited on April 3. Otherwise Mann suggested viewing shows and times online or calling 763-712-9955.

Deputy City Administrator John Cox said the City requested more signage from Mann Theatres, which is rare to do. “The City of Champlin has had several discussions with the Mann’s regarding the sign, but we have been told the cost is prohibitive or at least, has not met the cost-benefit test.”

Build it, and they will come—at least not yet
Mann says he was hopeful more restaurants would move into the area, especially since Target opened in to Champlin, just north of their theatre location. “That usually brings more business to a community,” he said. However, he noted, there seems to be a lot of small, community banks instead.

Most of the multi-residential buildings near the theatre sit empty or unfinished, with only Moonrock Bar and Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants open after years of development. And Cox says he has “very little news” about future developments. (Also, read the 9/07 posting regarding multi-tenant commercial retail in Champlin).

Theatres, signs, popcorn and gas prices (Yes, they really are related)
Mann says he’s concerned. Not only has development slowed in Champlin, but also, the increased gasoline prices are impacting everything including the oil they use for the popcorn (Mann says a barrel of popcorn oil used to cost $47, and now because of gas prices it has increased to $101).

Does all of this mean they won’t consider adding signage in the future? No, but it won’t happen any time soon. For now, he doesn’t believe the benefit of adding signage outweighs the cost.

So, there’s no marquee or poster signs, and popcorn oil prices have increased? That won’t stop me from going to the movies this Friday and munching on a bag of lightly-buttered $101-per-barrel-of-oil movie-theatre popcorn. See you there!

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logo2.gifI look forward to Fridays, not only because it is the last day of the workweek, but also because I head straight for Maverick’s Wood Grill, Champlin’s quaint, recently re-opened restaurant and bar.

Maverick’s is locally owned and managed and specializes in wood-grilled steaks, burgers and fresh seafood. I consider it an oasis tucked away in Champlin’s suburban neighborhood, an oasis of comfort food, ambiance, and Newcastle beer.

A Stained Glass and Log-End Walls
Maverick’s offers an ambiance that can’t be beat by other local suburban restaurants like Ruby Tuesdays or Broadway Pizza, or even Moonrock Bar and Grill  (my second-favorite restaurant in Champlin). It has a contemporary atmosphere-brightly colored cozy seating, a full bar, fireplace, dart boards, a stained glass wall-and it is co-mixed with what seems a much hipper crowd. I’d even compare it to Minneapolis neighborhood bars like Chatterbox Pub—only it’s much cleaner. The bar is somewhat small, which I believe helps make it feel warm, cozy and friendly; you get to know your neighbors around the bar (even if you don’t want to!).

I’d Kill for a Mini Mac
I admit I’ve only tried a few items on the menu—most are comfort foods—but on a Friday night I can’t help but stick with my favorites (I tell myself I’ll work it off at Life Time Fitness the next day!): cheese curds, mini corn dogs and the crème de la crème mini macs! I always get the mini burgers called mini macs, and there are different kinds to choose from too such as bacon/cheddar, mushroom/swiss, fire truck and heart attack. Click here for the full menu.  

Newcastle Fans and Fancy-Schmancy Drinkers
Newcastle is on tap in the full bar, and is only $3 a pint between 3 and 6 p.m. daily, for those of us thirst-quenched visitors. It’s not easy finding Newcastle on top anywhere in the suburbs!

I’ve watched the bartenders preparing to-die-for chocolate martinis, if you are a fan of fancy-schmancy drinks, they have quite a few originals on the menu. Click here for a full drink menu.

Where is this Neighborhood Oasis?
Maverick’s is located east of Highway 169 at 11328 West River Road in Champlin, Minnesota.

Stop by next Friday for a pint and a burger. But hey, don’t tell everyone, I want to keep my spot at the bar!

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You drive up to the stoplight at Hayden Lake Road east and 169 in the left-hand-through lane. There are three cars behind you waiting for the light to turn green as well. Just before the light changes, a Dodge ram truck pulls up next to you in the right-hand lane. You and the ram cross 169 on the green light. What happens next is a question: Is the Ram turning right on Business Park Boulevard toward Target, or does it think it can squeeze in front of you and the three cars behind?

Currently, there is no pavement marking or sign indicating the lane is a right-hand-turn only, and as a result, some use the lane in hopes of speeding past those in the left-hand lane.

John Cox, deputy city administrator, says the engineers working on the Hayden Lake Road project will add an “ONLY” pavement marking in the right-hand lane on the east side of 169. They will also include a “Right Turn Arrow.”

This is scheduled to be completed in the next two-to-three weeks.

Highway 169 and Hayden Lake Road East Intersection
Hayden Lake Road East and Highway 169 Intersection

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It’s been at least a year since the pedestrian bridge across Highway 169 has opened, and who is using it? Not many.

According to the City of Champlin 2007 Residential study, more than 70% of residents have rarely or never used the pedestrian bridge. Most likely, that percentage refers to adults who filled out and returned the survey (2007 Champlin Resident Survey: Pedestrian Bridge).

One could assume the percentage of youth who use the bridge, at least occasionally, would be much higher.

Haydn Hamilton, Jackson Middle School eighth grader, said the pedestrian bridge gives him the opportunity to ride his bike to his friends’ homes, to school or to Target. “Before my mom would never allow me to cross 169, and that means I couldn’t ride my bike to some of my friends’ homes. Now, I can do that, and I don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars,” said Hamilton. He says he crosses the bridge at least four or more times per week, and often rides his bike to school.

How many Champlin youth are using the bridge, and why are less than 30% of Champlin adults occasionally using the bridge?

The answer may simply be that Champlin hasn’t always been a pedestrian-friendly community. But, the City of Champlin is working to provide more opportunities. The pedestrian bridge and more sidewalks, such as along Hayden Lake Road, are the first steps.

Now, it’s time for the community to take advantage of the opportunities provided to pedestrians.

“The bridge ties us directly to the community center, and we’re taking advantage of it,” said Laurence Johnson, Champlin resident. He and his family take every opportunity to bicycle or walk to businesses along Champlin Drive, near his home. “It’s good for our health, our community and more importantly, the environment.”

Ronalee Haugen moved to Champlin from Brooklyn Center and said a pedestrian bridge was a factor in selecting their current home. “I value the ability to have a transit-friendly community and one that is also safe for kids,” said Haugen. “The pedestrian bridge is a step in the right direction for Champlin as are the sidewalks and trail systems.”

There are two access points to the pedestrian bridge. From the west, use the entrance off Business Park Boulevard North, near Ruby Tuesdays. And west of 169, use the entrance from Theatre Drive north, near Mann Theatre.  

Explore Champlin, as a pedestrian

Walk or ride bike to the Champlin Mann Theatre
Going to Champlin Mann Theatre for a movie this weekend? Walk or ride your bike. There is a rack in front of the theater for locking up your bike, and you can use the pedestrian bridge if you are coming from the east side of Champlin. You might burn enough calories for a guilt-free buttered popcorn! Or stop at Moonrock Bar & Grill  afterward for appetizers and a drink. If you bring your movie stub, you get a discount.

Encourage kids and families to walk to school
It is national Walk to School Day on October 3. And, there are only a few schools in Minnesota that are participating (no Champlin schools) Visit http://www.walktoschool-usa.org/ to learn more about how our community can get involved. Let our schools and city officials know we are interested in participating!

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