Rental apartments and an art gallery could replace Tater Tots and peanut butter burgers if plans to replace Grumpy’s Bar & Grill along Washington Avenue in Minneapolis with 150 rental apartments are approved.
Twin Cities-based TE Miller and Solhem Cos. have proposed building an eight-level building with an art gallery and other commercial space.
“Grumpy’s will live on in their two other great existing locations. Mac N Cheese Bites are forever,” Curt Gunsbury, a developer at Solhem, said.
The project, which is tentatively being called the OX-OP Gallery & Residences, is one of three proposals being heard this week by the Minneapolis Planning Commission’s committee of the whole. The three would add a combined nearly 500 rentals to this year’s record-size pipeline of apartments around the Twin Cities.
The Grumpy’s project would be a six-story, stick-built building atop a two-story concrete podium on what is now mostly a surface parking lot. The structure would wrap around the historic Day Block Brewing building and would include 1,423 square feet of street-level space commercial space along Washington Avenue S. for a gallery that is currently in Grumpy’s.
“We are excited to add 150 units of boutique housing to the walkable, urbane downtown and Mill District area,” said Gunsbury.
Joe Tamburino, chairman of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association and an attorney, said that the group hadn’t yet been given an opportunity to formally review the project. He said generally he would rather have a taller building with condos.
“We’ve had our fill of apartments,” Tamburino said. “It’s time to get some more owner-occupied housing in the area.”
The Grumpy’s site is in an area that has been popular with apartment developers and is near several low-rise apartment buildings that have been built in recent years.
Grumpy’s owner, Tom Hazelmyer, said the decision to close the bar had to do with changing times and demographics.
“To all our loyal fans, not to worry,” he said. “Grumpy’s is still very much alive and kicking in our northeast Minneapolis and Roseville locations.”
Solhem and Miller recently unveiled plans to build 159 rentals at 7th and Central Avenue on a small site in the nearby northeast Minneapolis arts district, where Schafer Richardson is teaming up with Peter Brodd to build 175 rental apartments in a six-story building at 854, 902 and 904 14th Av. NE.
Maureen Michalski, director of development for Schafer Richardson, said those units would be available to people who earn less than 60 percent of the area median income. Catering to working-class families, the building aims to have much-larger units than are generally available close to downtown. Nearly one-third of the units will have three bedrooms.
There will be a gallery space with curated exhibits that will be open to the public. There will also be a separate nearly 5,500-square-foot “maker space” building that would be available for rental by artists or others.
The third apartment project on the committee’s agenda is being pitched by Yellow Tree. The Minneapolis firm wants to build a six-story, 147-unit apartment building on the 1700 block of Nicollet Avenue’s “Eat Street.” That market-rate project would have about 8,000 square feet of street-level retail space.