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Pinnacle on course: EAW now available for review at Bemidji City Hall

Pinnacle Village Shoppes remains on course for a spring groundbreaking.

An Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the project is now available for review and comment at Bemidji City Hall.

A site plan in the EAW depicts a possible layout including a row of about 25 retail shops. Scattered throughout the development are 13 standalone buildings representing eight restaurants, four junior big-box stores and one big-box store.

"We're in conversations with a lot of different (businesses)," developer Harry Takhar said Friday.

Whether the project will be constructed exactly like the site plan is unlikely. Takhar said he thinks six restaurants for the site would be ideal.

He would not say which businesses would fill the junior big-box and big-box store locations. Junior big-box stores, such as a Best Buy, start at 20,000 square feet. The four on the site plan range from 20,000 to 65,000 square feet. A big-box store, such as Wal-Mart or Target, is much larger. The building planned for the Pinnacle development is proposed to be 110,000 square feet.

Takhar said he still anticipating a mid- to late-summer 2009 opening for Pinnacle Village Shoppes. In order to meet that goal, businesses would have to sign on this summer.

"We're talking to them, having discussions with them and hoping they all show up," he said.

The Pinnacle outlet mall project obtained statewide press late last year when it was announced that Capital Growth Madison Marquette, a national commercial real-estate company based in Minneapolis, had entered into an agreement with Takhar to develop the site at the intersection of U.S. highways 2 and 71.

The latest EAW was submitted by CGMM and is an expansion of the original EAW that was and approved in 2005.

Plans for Pinnacle have expanded since 2005 - about 17 additional acres have been included for more commercial development. In 2005, developers had proposed an outlet mall project on 56.32 acres. The newest EAW details plans for a project on 81.41 acres.

The project will feature an outlet mall with retail stores, restaurants and parking lots. It also includes plans for the extension of city water and sewer services and construction of permanent storm water management features.

The EAW, which is about 2 inches thick in a three-ring binder, details the environmental plans for the project.

A copy of the EAW is available for review from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Bemidji City Hall and the Bemidji Public Library.

The city will accept comments on the EAW until March 12. Comments should be directed to Mel Milender, planning administrator for the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, at Bemidji City Hall, 317 Fourth St. N.W., Bemidji, MN 56601.