An affordable housing developer’s proposal to rezone the Bunge grain elevator into apartments was approved Thursday by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.
The plan by Project for Pride in Living and Riverton Community Housing requires cutting the 115-foot elevators down to 25 feet, allowing for the construction of two different complexes, Maya Commons and Bunge Riverton, and 145 total living units. The “headhouse,” or cupola, would be preserved and redeveloped as common space between the two complexes. The city planning commission will vote whether to approve the plan on Monday.
A 2006 proposal to convert the structure into affordable housing fell through when the condominium market crashed. But the developer succeeded in demolishing several adjacent buildings.
The Bunge site, built in the 1930s, has drawn trespassers, partly due to its proximity to the University of Minnesota. A 20-year-old student died in June 2015 while climbing the structure, which followed a similar death in 2006.
Bunge Riverton, headed by RHC, proposes 95 student-housing units, while PPL’s Maya Commons, an affordable workforce housing project, proposes 50 units. The headhouse would be painted to resemble a peace pole and contain a lobby, parking, community space, fitness and meeting rooms.
The Bunge site is among a rush of apartment plans brought forward last year by Twin Cities developers.
Trevor Squire is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.