Summer in Highland Park – update on Highland Bridge and more

Aerial view of Marvella senior housing complex


Highland Bridge development

I made a couple of reconnaissance trips to Highland Bridge, the development in Highland Park headed by Ryan Companies. There are people living there and the parks are mostly finished, but overall it still has an “under construction” feeling of raw newness. Here’s a summary of the State of the Place as far as I can determine.


Four new public parks are included as part of the Highland Bridge development. Two of them, Gateway Park and Uŋči Makhá Park, are now complete and fully open to the public, while a third one, Assembly Union Park is nearing completion, slated to fully open this summer. The fourth one, called Míča Park, will be constructed in 2024. The new parks currently open were being used by families, children, hikers and bikers, even on the gloomy, wet Sunday when I drove through.

In-house movie theater at Marvella senior housing

The Lunds & Byerlys store at 2170 Ford Pkwy. and the apartment complex called The Collection that is adjacent to it on the same block of Cretin Avenue are both open for business and rentals respectively and have been for many months. The rapid completion of the apartments ( is particularly good news for fans of Highland Bridge, because a year ago that construction was on hold “due to rent control.” Although that’s not great news for fans of rent control, because St. Paul added several developer-friendly carve-outs to the ordinance as passed. Lunds was one of the first things to open at Highland Bridge, and the one at Highland Village strip mall next door simply closed and moved to its fancy new home.
Another major institution that moved a short distance within Highland Park was the Fairview Clinic, formerly at 2155 Ford Pkwy., and now in Highland Bridge at 2270, just a block west of Lunds. It looks like a much

The Mezz Taproom at Lunds & Byerlys Highland Bridge offers beer and wine on tap.

larger building, but maybe that’s just because it’s built up higher. Like the older site across the street, the clinic includes an urgent care facility and offers many specialty services.
Marvella, the Presbyterian-owned, market-rate senior housing complex that includes “continuum of care,” is not only complete but pretty full. It’s a lot bigger than I expected, with two very large multistory buildings whose front entries face each other across the street. There is a huge patio/courtyard, many amenities such as a movie theater and salon, and skyways connecting the buildings to each other. See the gallery of pictures here:

Opening of Herself Health in Highland Park

Not completed, but underway

The market-rate row houses are partially complete, and some are for sale now, with the affordable housing options lingering a bit behind the market-rate offerings. Out in front is Common Bond’s affordable senior housing project, The Lumin. This is under construction and is currently taking applications with a fall 2023 completion date projected. The Lumin will have 60 units of 55+ apartments for rent at a percentage of the tenant’s income. There are two affordable housing projects under the direction of Project for Pride in Living (PPL), one of which is co-owned by Emma Norton, the venerable St. Paul nonprofit. It’s called Restoring Waters and represents a major new addition to Emma Norton’s service portfolio.
Emma Norton was founded in 1917 as the Methodist Home for Girls, based on a gift from Emma Norton to the United Methodist Women (UMW). In their current headquarters location on Robert Street in St. Paul, they have operated the Emma Norton Residence since 1967. Emma Norton also operates Emma’s Place in Maplewood, as well. See for more on their 106-year history. Their current focus is on unhoused people – women, families, and people with disabilities and/or substance use disorders. They also work with people outside their residences, often using the SOAR model. (SOAR, which stands for SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Access and Recovery, is a program designed to increase access to SSI. See for more details.)

Tony Larkin as Abe (left) and Avi Aharoni as Schmuli in Six Points Theater’s ‘The Wanderers’

Restoring Waters will not only be a new project residence, but it will also be the new office headquarters for Emma Norton.
PPL and Emma Norton held a joint groundbreaking ceremony this past January. The PPL residential building for low-income working families and singles is called Nellie Francis Court. It’s named after Nellie Griswold Francis, founder of the Everywoman Suffrage Club (ESC) in 1914. The two buildings are adjoining and share some community amenities, such as a wellness space and indoor bike storage. The complex is scheduled to open in early 2024.

Beyond Highland Bridge

About a half-mile east of Highland Bridge, at 2004 Ford Pkwy., is a new kind of primary care clinic designed solely for women over 64 years of

Scene from Six Points Theater’s ‘Groupthink’

age. Herself Health just opened in the past year. They use exciting new values to fill a gap that many older women experience. Specifically, they offer “female-focused, age-conscious services designed to lead to your best life yet, care that considers every part of health: physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and social, and doctors that are easy to get to and covered by Medicare, with extended office hours.“
Highland Park is culturally rich but many of its cultural institutions are located at the edges of the neighborhood. One great cultural asset right on Ford Parkway is Six Points Theater (SPT). SPT was founded in 1994 as the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. The reason behind the new name (since 2021) is twofold. Graphically, it suggests the six-pointed Star of David and reflects the theater’s logo and Jewish heritage and lens on universal themes. Verbally, it refers to the organization’s six guiding

Sally Wingert in ‘A Pickle’ at Six Points Theater in 2021

principles: integrity, artistic excellence, trust, innovation, stewardship and tikkun olam (repairing the world). SPT’s main performance venue is within the Highland Park Community Center. SPT just held its annual benefit on June 26, and has yet to announce a 2023-24 season. The last production of the previous season, “The Wanderers,” closed in May of 2023. In November 2022, Robert Dorfman was appointed director of Wellsprings, the new play development section of SPT. Wellsprings is currently reviewing script submissions, so watch for upcoming events soon.

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