Minnetonka Senior Housing Concept Plan 17113 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka
Type: Senior housing Size: 125-140 units
Height: Four stories Developer: Doran Companies
Details: Developer Kelly Doran is floating a concept plan in Minnetonka for a new, four-story senior housing project along Minnetonka Boulevard east of its intersection with County Road 101.
Doran's plans call for a senior housing facility on a 3.1-acre site with a total size of 120,000-150,000 square feet. According to the developer, it would include a mix of assisted living, independent living, memory care units and specialized care units, with amenities such as restaurant-style family dining, spa, theater, exercise room, chapel and a library.
The site now holds the Woodland Office Building, a 1959-vintage converted former church, whose owner says he has signed a purchase agreement with the developer to sell the land and raze the building should the senior housing plans be approved.
The plans would require that the city's 2030 comprehensive plan be amended to change the land use for the parcel from "office" to "high density residential" and would also need a related re-zoning.
The Minnetonka Planning Commission at a Nov. 15 informational meeting heard from residents of an adjacent neighborhood who were opposed to the project on the grounds that it would be too close to their homes and that at four stories would change the character of the area.
They also said they worried about increased noise and traffic and perceived hazards to adjoining wetlands.
William Stoddard, vice president of senior housing development and operations for Doran Cos., said the proposed building had been oriented to place the units as far away from nearby homes as possible -- a change from what previous developers eying the site had envisioned.
Current property owner James McKenna reminded the commission that under the current zoning, it would be permissible to construct a 120,000-square-foot office building on the site -- something that would generate far more traffic than a senior housing project.
The project next comes before the City Council for another information hearing on Dec. 3.
Don Jacobson is a freelance writer in St. Paul. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.