Coborn Plaza opening
Monday, August 16, 2010
Students began hauling personal items into Coborn Plaza Apartments Aug. 14-15, heralding the opening of Coborn Plaza, the first-phase of a planned revitalization of Fifth Avenue in St. Cloud.
"It's awesome, really awesome," said Jon Willert, as he moved into a four-bedroom unit on the third floor of the north building. "Brand-new atmosphere, brand-new place. Private bedroom, bath."
Willert, a first-year student from Woodville, Wisc., is one 184 students with Fall Semester leases in Coborn Plaza Apartments. It could be three years before the 453-student high-amenity complex is full, according to the university's business plan.
Coborn Plaza Apartments and the Welcome Center are the lion's share of the two, four-story buildings that comprise Coborn Plaza. The development is named for the Coborn family, which for years operated a groceries-and-liquor store on the site just north of campus.
St. Cloud State is leasing Coborn Plaza Apartments and the Welcome Center from J.A. Wedum, a Minneapolis-based foundation which has developed senior and student housing in Minnesota communities such as Buffalo, Rochester, Minneapolis, Fridley and Mankato.
University staff began moving into the Welcome Center Aug. 16. St. Cloud State's one-stop shop for community and visitor access to campus occupies 12,000 square-feet on the main floor of the south building at 355 5th Ave. S.
"This is where campus meets community," said President Earl H. Potter III.
Two open houses and a grand opening are scheduled for the Welcome Center in September, according to Loren Boone, assistant vice president for marketing and communications.
Welcome Center hours will be 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with weekend hours by appointment or for events.
The remainder of Coborn Plaza is 20,000 square-feet of retail space. Campus Book and Supply and Fantastic Sam’s Hair Salon will occupy the southernmost areas facing Fifth Avenue. Leases are being negotiated with two food/beverage establishments and a tanning salon, according to Heather Alderlink, senior associate for Grubb & Ellis/Northco Real Estate Services, Minneapolis.
In the courtyard west of the Welcome Center is The Patio at Coborn Plaza, the university's newest outdoor social and entertainment venue. The patio surface features a 30-foot by 22-foot Saint C logo of dyed concrete and glass-embedded concrete. An exterior junction box, featuring standard and 220-volt electrical sockets, will support sound-reinforcement equipment.
The Coborn Plaza Apartments director is Thomas (TK) Krueger, formerly residence hall director at Shoemaker Hall. Krueger's staff includes assistant director Kevin Nakielski and five community advisers who live among the residents, providing support, information and referral services, and enforcing policies. Nakielski, a graduate student in business administration, hails from Milwaukee.
Tours of Coborn Plaza Apartments are available on the half hour, 2-4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call Krueger at 320-308-6120 to reserve a tour slot. Visit the Residential Life Web site for more information.
The Center for Continuing Studies is a key program in the Welcome Center. The center's Corporate Education & Outreach division is managing two smart classrooms and a large conference room. Tammy Anhalt-Warner, assistant director of training, is the university's lead employee in the Welcome Center.
The Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center, a joint venture with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and others, has a suite of offices just off the Welcome Center lobby.
The high-tech exhibit space next to the Welcome Center main desk is called The Intersection. The opening exhibit, curated by graduate student Alex Ames, will be about the history of Fifth Avenue, Boone said.
The Intersection has numerous data ports and electrical outlets, as well as movable track lighting, a ceiling projector and projection screen.
The main desk and lobby area will be staffed beyond the typical university workday. Among its planned services will be information kiosks, a campus way-finding system, student-admission information and tickets for university events.
Adjacent to the lobby will be University Husky Store, a Husky logowear/gear store supported by Follett Corporation, proprietors of the bookstore in Centennial Hall.
Coborn Plaza is a project of 5th Avenue Development, LLC, a partnership that includes the Coborn family, Cornerstone Construction of St. Cloud, and local attorney and St. Cloud State alumnus, Brian Schoenborn.
5th Avenue Development uses the term Fifth Avenue Live! to describe plans for developing both sides of Fifth Avenue north to Minnesota Highway 23. Related developments include planned expansions of the St. Cloud Civic Center at the north end of the avenue and the university's National Hockey Center near the south end of the avenue.
As Schoenborn told university officials when Coborn Plaza construction began last summer: "Fifth Avenue will scream St. Cloud State. It will scream 'We're proud of our university.' "