Type: Multifamily

Units: 265

Developer: Trident Development

Architect: HMA Architects

Details: A yearslong effort to redevelop what was once a row of vacant auto-oriented business along University Avenue NE. took a major step forward last month when the Fridley City Council approved a master plan for the Cielo, a 265-unit apartment complex from St. Cloud-based Trident Development.

The city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority began acquiring the blighted former gas stations, restaurants and other commercial buildings between 58th and 61st avenues in 2006, completing the process last year.

It spent $4.5 million through tax increment financing for acquisition, demolition, site preparation and marketing. Trident then came forward with a plan to construct a trio of four-story apartment buildings featuring three stories of living space above first-floor parking garages.

Under the proposal, two of the buildings will have 104 units each — they would be connected by a skyway — with the third to feature 57 units.

The City Council at its Feb. 10 meeting approved a transit-oriented ­development master plan for the ­project, which is a half-mile from the Northstar Line station in Fridley.

Trident's Roger Fink told council members that he will spend the coming weeks lining up financing and finalizing designs in hopes of breaking ground by late spring or early summer.

Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be reached at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.