A pair of developers want to build a pair of residential towers across from the Galleria and Southdale shopping centers in Edina, but on Tuesday night the proposal received a “lukewarm” response from the City Council because of its height, City Manager Scott Neal said.
Twin Cities-based Arcadia LLC and Ryan Cos. want to build a multiphase, mixed-use development that would include a 24-story tower with 82 condominiums and a 20-story tower with 70 condos at the corner of France Avenue and 69th Street.
The Art Deco-inspired stone and glass buildings were designed to be slender enough to minimize their visual impact and create a compact floorplate that enables every unit to have at least one corner view.
Neal said that while the council “loved” nearly every aspect of the project they expressed some concern about a high-rise in that location, which is surrounded by low-rise commercial buildings and is adjacent to a residential neighborhood.
Representatives from both companies presented highly detailed coloring renderings and site plans for the Estelle Edina to the council during what’s called a sketch plan review, a routine and early part of the entitlement process that gives the developer an opportunity to get a preview of the council’s reaction to the project.
Residents don’t participate, no vote was taken and all comments were nonbinding. Next week, the developers will discuss details with the city before deciding whether to take the next step by submitting a formal land-use application.
“We’re early in the process,” said Carl Runck, a developer with Ryan and one of the presenters. “It’s in sketch-plan review and we’re still talking with neighbors, business owners and Edina residents.”
Runck said that some council members offered “enormous amounts of praise” on the attributes of Estelle and “shared insights on what this kind of project could mean for the city’s growth and its potential influence on the nearby neighborhood.”
The site is now occupied by a Bremer Bank and BMO Harris Bank that would move to new spaces in the project. It’s about a block from another high-rise, the Residences at the Westin Galleria and the 225-room Westin Hotel, which was built in 2008.
The project is just one of several proposed towers around the Twin Cities that met some resistance from nearby residents.
The issue is hotly debated in several popular neighborhoods just across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis where demand for high-density housing is strong, but the appetite for height is weak. Plans to replace the Nye’s Polonaise Room with a high-rise apartment tower were scuttled. Nearby, plans to build a 40-story condo tower are on hold while a neighborhood group works through an appeal to municipal approvals.