Conflicts over the height and density of developments within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District are piling up. The latest involves the mixed-use project from Doran Cos. and CSM Cos. that includes a 25-story residential building.
The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, citing several issues, recently denied a request for a certificate of appropriateness that the project needs to proceed.
In its report, the commission said the overall height of the tower is not compatible with the character of area and that it does not comply with design guidelines that require a developer to position taller portions of a structure away from neighboring buildings of lower scale.
In the portion of the district where the project is planned, the rules say building heights should not exceed eight stories.
And, to maintain the character of the area, the rules require that existing “grain elevators should also continue their visual prominence over the rest of the district.”
The project is proposed for the parking lot of what’s known as the General Mills site. Though the development team has acquired a multiblock site that includes a General Mills research facility, the company will lease the building from the developers. The project includes several parcels, including 200 University Av. SE., 215 SE. 2nd St., 223 3rd Av. SE. and 229 SE. 2nd St.
Tonya Tennessen, vice president of communications and marketing for Doran, said the firm anticipated the commission would deny its proposal. She said the companies will appeal.
She said that support for the project has been robust and that more than 100 people attended a community meeting on Oct. 3 about it. “People were highly engaged,” she said. “In general, they genuinely seemed to appreciate the information and the larger regulatory context our team provided. The overall feedback was largely positive about the project design.”
Tennessen said the group presented plans that had been modified based on feedback from city officials and community members in earlier meetings. After the commission’s rejection, the companies will make “further changes to the architectural plans that incorporate the city staff’s conditions within their recommendation for approval,” she said.
This high-rise project is one of three in the neighborhood that has met resistance based primarily on height and density. A proposed apartment tower that would have replaced Nye’s Polonaise Room was scaled back, and a plan to build a 40-story condo tower has been delayed by a series of legal challenges.