The master developer of a 427-acre megaproject in Arden Hills is offering a slightly less dramatic departure from the suburban landscape in the area.
But the City Council wants to hear from residents before acting on the new plan.
After behind-the-scenes negotiations with council skeptics in recent weeks, Alatus LLC on Monday night talked of bringing the maximum height of any building in the newly created town center at Rice Creek Commons down to 10 stories, or 130 feet.
That’s still a lot taller than the 55-foot cap the city started off with, but less than the 12 to 14 stories the developer had sought.
The latest Alatus plan is not guaranteed to win approval, given that a supermajority of four of the five on the council is needed.
And it may well have trouble attracting the unanimous green light being sought by the city’s mayor for such a major undertaking, on a site known as TCAAP, formerly the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.
Prior to the meeting, the plan’s most outspoken critic, Council Member Brenda Holden, who faces reelection this month, said the revised plan still feels taller and more packed-in than she senses residents are willing to accept.
The council has agreed to schedule a postelection open house on Nov. 16 to present the plans to anyone in town who wants to see them close-up and weigh in.
Alatus chief Bob Lux told council members Monday that he will produce large-scale two-dimensional images of what the project would look like.
“We’ll try to make it a realistic presentation board,” he said when Holden warned against visual sleight-of-hand. “We did meet with architects this morning to get a better idea of what the scale feels like from the street,” he said.
Council Member David McClung, who also faces reelection, has been one of three persons in the group most accommodating to the Alatus vision, and repeated on Monday that he wasn’t seeking a revised plan “for my vote — I support flexibility and I don’t have a lot of issues.”
Departing Council Member Jonathan Wicklund has called the overall site plan a “phenomenal vision” but also noted that he’s a lame duck who won’t be around long term to see it through.
Contenders for council seats in some cases are quite critical of the incumbents as a group for being too willing to countenance what one has called “packed-in density.” So the election could yield a chillier reception for the project than it’s getting today.