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City planners have proposed redesigning the Minneapolis impound lot to improve the experience for visitors and reuse some of the land for potential redevelopment.

The impound lot takes up about 30 acres northwest of the Interstate 394 and 94 interchanges outside of downtown.

The redesign, which is expected to be discussed at Thursday’s committee of the whole City Planning Commission meeting, would reduce the size of the storage lot to reallocate land west of Van White Memorial Boulevard to be available for private development, though city reports don’t list details about a possible redevelopment project.

The vehicle entry to the site would need to be moved from Colfax Avenue N. to Van White Memorial Boulevard, and the main building would also be reconstructed on the west side of the property. In the new design, customer parking would be on the west side of the new building close to Van White Memorial Boulevard so customers would cross the secure line within the building and then be taken to their impounded vehicles.

“These changes will allow better access to Metro Transit options including bus routes and the future Southwest LRT, and will redirect tow trucks away from the central business district,” according to a city staff report. “The applicant’s intent is to improve customer and staff flow and experience, to separate tow truck traffic from customers quickly, and to keep pedestrians out of the flow of vehicular traffic.”

The city has wanted to upgrade the old impound lot building for years and has been gathering residents’ feedback on how to improve the site, which takes in more than 32,000 vehicles a year. With the number of vehicles towed and taken to the lot on the decline, the city has discussed reducing the lot’s footprint. Neighborhood advocates have pushed for the site to be used for potential development.

The overhaul of the impound lot was originally estimated to cost about $7 million.

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