A Tudor-style brick building that most recently housed the Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home just north of downtown Minneapolis has been demolished to make way for a 40-story glass condo tower.
Demolition began late last Friday after a neighborhood group, Neighbors for East Bank Livability (NEBL), failed to post a $4.6 million security bond sought by a judge overseeing their legal attempt to stop it.
The building, at 200 Central Av. SE., is in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, an area near the Mississippi River across from downtown where there are limits on building heights and other protections on buildings. Before it was used by the funeral home company, the building for many years housed the St. Anthony Commercial Club.
The neighborhood group challenged the city’s approval for developer Alatus to proceed with the tower, which has been in the planning stage for two years. Chris Osmundson, development director for Alatus, said that construction is scheduled to begin next May and could take two years.
Erich Wunderlich, a representative for NEBL, said the group is “disappointed that the developer Alatus has destroyed the historic St. Anthony Commercial Club building in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, all the more so considering that NEBL still has ongoing legal challenges to the project before the court.”
He said NEBL “will not give up” its battle to require the city and Alatus to respect the zoning laws and guidelines of the historic district. The group has also raised an environmental challenge.
“NEBL claims filed under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act may yet result in a determination that the building was in fact eligible for individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places, an opinion shared by two of Minnesota’s most highly respected preservation experts,” Wunderlich said in a statement.
Osmundson took a different view of the neighborhood group’s effort. “We’re continuing to battle various frivolous appeals and so is the city of Minneapolis,” he said. “I was optimistic that we’d have everything resolved by end of the year.”
Sales of the condo units will begin next spring; pricing hasn’t been set yet. Osmundson said Alatus is willing to start construction without meeting any presale requirements.