The City of Minneapolis is on the hunt for developers who can revitalize a neglected corner of the Lowry Avenue corridor. The city's Department of Community Planning and Economic Development in partnership with Hennepin County is seeking redevelopment proposals for two vacant commercial buildings in northeast Minneapolis on Lowry Avenue NE. near NE. Monroe Street.
The site is little more than a quarter-acre and is just a few blocks from the more bustling Central Avenue.
"This site offers a prime opportunity to create a catalytic project that comports with and celebrates the newly created Lowry Avenue plan and can become a community amenity that will support transit-oriented development, housing and the neighborhood's vision," City Council Member Kevin Reich said in a statement.
The city hopes a reimagining of the property will help invigorate the area. Both buildings are dilapidated and have sat vacant. The single-story, larger building at 695 Lowry has been vacant for about a year and a portion of which previously had been used as a church. It has almost 12,000 square feet of space not including the basement. The building at 699 Lowry is two stories with an apartment upstairs and is about 2,500 square feet and has sat empty for at least five years. Neither building has dedicated parking.
The city will sell the buildings as is for $150,000. According to Hennepin County property records, the larger building was sold for $212,000 in 1990, and the smaller was sold for $62,000. Hennepin County acquired the buildings in 2014 through tax forfeiture.
Developers can choose to renovate or demolish the two buildings that are there now and make way for a new commercial, mixed-use or retail space.
Proposals should include a pedestrian-oriented design that includes functional art installations that promote walkability and bike use. There should be enough space for a new bus shelter at the corner and the building design should incorporate sustainable practices.
Developers will have to walk a fine line of respecting the feel of the surrounding neighborhood which is currently made out of single-family houses yet at the same time create a site that will be able to support a place in the near future that could be more dense and transit-oriented.
A plan adopted last year by the Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association envisioned retail to be on the ground floor of the corner and also supported development as high as 5½ stories. A plan prepared by Hennepin County and approved last year by the City Council called for a new transit shelter and plaza on Lowry and Monroe and pedestrian improvements such as wider sidewalks and trees on the boulevards.
Proposals are due to the city by Feb. 2.