A proposed three-story building in Minneapolis’ Linden Hills commercial strip moved forward with little fanfare this week, unlike a fiercely fought project down the block.
The city Planning Commission on Monday approved a site plan, conditional-use permit and several variances for the building, proposed by South Upton Properties Partnership on the northeast corner of 44th Street and Upton Avenue S. It could include offices, retail space and a restaurant, according to city documents.
The project would occupy what’s now a surface parking lot south of the Sebastian Joe’s ice cream shop. A new lot with six spaces would be built to the east, behind the 17,000-square-foot building.
Calls to Christian Dean Architecture, the listed contact for the project, were not returned Wednesday.
Four neighbors wrote to express concerns about the proposed building with the city, most of them worried that the loss of parking would make traffic worse.
Sarah Thomas, 32, who lives next door to the proposed development, said she felt the developers did not account for an expected increase in traffic. The district is filled with cars from people shopping at small businesses, perusing the outdoor farmers market and going to the west shore of Lake Harriet, she said.
“It’s almost practically impossible to find parking,” she said.
But the opposition is minuscule compared to what greeted a developer’s proposal a block away. Vocal neighbors attempted but failed to limit the height of buildings in the area to three stories in 2013.
In 2015, the city approved a four-story apartment building a corner that once was the site Famous Dave’s restaurant, despite pleas from neighbors that the building would change the character of the district and obstruct the views from nearby houses. It was the fourth proposal for that corner in three years.
By contrast, the South Upton Properties Partnership project moved with no discussion or public testimony at Monday’s Planning Commission meeting. The commission approved requests to allow a three-story building, despite the 2.5-story limit, and acknowledged that some private views could be blocked.
Multiple businesses, including four retail spaces on the floor level and two in a basement level, are expected to be in the building, according to the application.
If no one appeals, the commission’s approvals are made final, Senior City Planner Janelle Widmeier wrote via e-mail.