With the approval on October 4 of four sign variances, a new medical office building is one step closer to a December groundbreaking at 2270 Ford Pkwy. The two-story, 60,000-square-foot building is 73 percent pre-leased with M Health Fairview as the anchor tenant. The remaining 16,200 square feet is available for three to five more medical offices.

 
Highland Bridge
A 130-square-foot free-standing sign (left) and a 60-square-foot projecting sign (right) were approved for a new medical office building on the southwest corner of Ford Parkway and Mount Curve Boulevard.
Ryan Companies, master developer of the 122-acre Highland Bridge development project, is building the new medical office building. Ryan received zoning variances for the building itself earlier this year. It is the second major commercial development at the site, following the new Lunds and Byerlys store on the ground floor of a mixed-used building just to the east.
 
“With the anticipated population growth in the area, the Highland Bridge medical office building will help meet the increased need for health care services,” said Ann Duginske Cibulka, director of health care real estate development for Ryan. “This location is highly accessible, making it convenient for residents of the area.”
 
M Health Fairview will occupy 26,000 square feet, primarily on the second floor, with a pharmacy on the first floor. The clinic will provide primary care services, including family, women’s and pediatric care, and urgent care with extended weekday and weekend hours. M Health Fairview Rehabilitation Services, including physical therapy and sports medicine, will also occupy the new space.
 
A groundbreaking is planned for early December, with completion in the spring of 2023. The existing M Health Fairview clinic at 2155 Ford Pkwy. will remain open until the new facility is ready to see patients.
 

City staff recommended approval of the sign variances, citing the size and scale of the building and the need for directional signs in a multi-tenant office building.

 
The four sign variances were approved by the Saint Paul Board of Zoning Appeals. The variances are to regulations tied to the building’s underlying zoning and to the Highland Village Special Sign District, which was adopted in 1986 to reduce sign clutter.
 
Plans call for five signs in all. A one-sided, free-standing, 13-by-10-foot sign will be located on the building’s east side along Mount Curve Boulevard. That is 106 square feet more than what is normally allowed in the special sign district.
 
Two 4-by-6-foot directory signs are planned on the buildings’ north and south sides.
 
The building will also have a 10-by-8-foot wall sign facing Gateway Park and a 12-by-5-foot projecting sign on the building’s northeast corner at Mount Curve and Ford Parkway. The zoning for the property limits the height of signs to 30 feet. Those two signs will have heights of 39 and 37 feet, respectively.
 
The special sign district limits the size of projecting signs to a maximum surface display area of 16 square feet per side. The projecting sign on the northeast corner will have a display area of 60 square feet per side.
 
City staff recommended approval of the variances, citing the size and scale of the building and the need for directional signs in a multi-tenant office building. Tia Anderson, who oversees site plan reviews for the city, said most of the signs would be internally lit to minimize glare. The freestanding sign would have a spotlight on it. According to Anderson and Duginske Cibulka, the site’s 10-foot grade change is also a factor in the sign variance requests.
 
The Highland District Council’s Community Development Committee recommended approval of the variances, as did the Highland Business Association.

— Jane McClure

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COMMENTS TERMS OF SERVICE

The Villager welcomes comments from readers. Please include your full name and the neighborhood in which you live. Be respectful of others and stay on topic. We reserve the right to remove any comment we deem to be profane, rude, insulting or hateful. Comments will be reviewed before being published.

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