Housing density has become a hot topic in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council’s zoning and planning committee recently heard density-related appeals for a pair of redevelopment projects in south Minneapolis. But both were denied and the projects are going to proceed.
Don Gerberding of Master Properties Minnesota has been working on behalf of a local family to build a five-story mixed-use building with 97 residential units and 21,025 square feet of commercial space at 2601 and 2621 Lyndale Av. S.
The project, which is being called Rex 26 and would include an Aldi’s grocery store, received approval last year. When an unexpected structural issue that would increase construction costs cropped up, Gerberding went back to the committee to request a zoning variance that would enable him to add 11 rental apartments to the five planned units on the fifth floor of the building, increasing the floor area ratio on the entire project from 2.55 to 3.4 units per acre.
Though the footprint and height of the building didn’t change, the request was denied.
Gerberding said that despite the denial, the project will move forward and construction is underway. This will be Aldi’s first urban infill project with underground parking in the nation.
The committee also heard an appeal to recent city approvals for what’s known as the Sons of Norway project. Ryan Cos. and Wiedner Apartment Homes want to replace an existing Sons of Norway building and adjacent surface parking lots along W. Lake Street with two buildings, including a seven-story structure, 319 rental apartments and 23,000 square feet of commercial space.
Lara Norkus-Crampton appealed the earlier permissions on behalf of the East Calhoun Community Organization but was denied. The project is among several recent proposals that have sparked vigorous debate about the height and density of development in the city.
Opponents have said such projects, which increase the number of living units — and residents — will change the character of established urban neighborhoods, impact property values and increase congestion on sidewalks and streets.
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