The developers who hope to buy the Sons of Norway headquarters in Uptown on Friday unveiled plans to replace it with three six-story buildings for offices, stores and a 326-unit apartment complex.
And there will be room in the middle of it all for an ice rink.
If the plan is approved by city regulators, Ryan Cos. and Weidner Apartment Homes will purchase the headquarters building and two nearby surface parking lots from the Sons of Norway and remake the prominent site on Lake Street.
The companies submitted their plans to the Minneapolis City Planning Commission for preliminary review. The commission's Committee of the Whole will review them during a public meeting next Thursday.
The Sons of Norway, a cultural and fraternal organization created by the descendants of Norwegian immigrants, announced in March that it intended to sell the headquarters it built in 1961 in an effort to raise money for ongoing activities. Following the redevelopment, the group plans to occupy a portion of the new building.
City officials and neighborhood groups have been waiting anxiously for details to emerge about what is planned for the bustling and highly desired block.
Ryan and Weidner officials said they listened carefully to the desires of local residents before sketching any architectural renderings. Under their partnership, Ryan has focused on the potential design, development and construction, whereas Weidner intends to be the long-term owner and manager of the entire project.
The corner of Lake Street and Humboldt Avenue would act as the anchor for the new site and boast a circular tower with a six-story cupola rooftop enclosure that is clad in corten steel. The rounded structure, which will mainly house retail space, residential lobby and upstairs residential units, will be flanked by building wings sprouting to the east and south that are made of brick and metal.
In addition to the 326 residential units, the project will have 15,000 square feet of office space, 7,000 square feet of retail space and 327 underground parking stalls.
The plans also call for the conversion of an existing alley, a new five-story pedestrian skyway, green space and an ice rink. The idea is to create a "vibrant mixed-use corridor in the heart of Uptown" that encourages both "activity and a sense of community," the plan said.
Minneapolis City Planner Peter Crandall said there has been a lot of interest in what will become of the site.
"There has been a lot of speculation about it," he said. That block "has been mostly surface parking lots for a long time, so it's an underutilized parcel for that area. So there will be a lot of interest."
Crandall added that Ryan vice president Tony Barranco and his team have been working closely with neighborhood groups to get their feedback. While many are excited about potential redevelopment, some local homeowners told city officials they are concerned about the traffic and noise that a high-density project could bring to the area sandwiched between West Lake and 31st streets and between Humboldt and Holmes Avenues.
More meetings are expected between the city, developers and residents, though no further dates have been scheduled, Crandall said.