A plan is in the works to renovate two long-abandoned warehouses on the edge of northeast Minneapolis' arts district into apartments and shops.
St. Louis Park-based Bader Development and Nolan Properties Group of Wayzata have proposed 156 apartments and street-level retail space for the structures at 700 and 708 Central Av. NE. that date to the early 20th century. New construction is also planned for an adjacent lot along SE. 7th Street, according to documents submitted to the city.
The site is on the edge of a section of northeast Minneapolis that has been aggressively gentrified over the past 15 years — an effort that has involved the renovation of historic structures, as well as new construction. Built in 1901, the warehouses were once home to a records management firm, and also used for storage, but they've been eyed by other development firms in recent years as the site of a possible hotel and condominiums.
Nolan Properties bought the property in 2011 for $1.75 million. The current redevelopment plan involves renovating the internally connected existing buildings, adding 10,000 square feet of retail space, and erecting a new building with residential units. A penthouse level would be added to 708 Central Av. NE.
Plans call for two levels of underground parking below the new building, and a surface lot behind it will have an additional parking for a total of 137 spaces.
"The project objective is to reposition the currently blighted site and dilapidated buildings to a high-design development that will enliven this area in the northeast Minneapolis neighborhood," say documents submitted to the city. The developers noted in the application that the aim is to "create a transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly place, at a level that will enrich the surrounding area."
Representatives from Nolan could not be reached for comment Friday; an official from Bader Development declined to comment, saying it was "too early."
Recently, Bader Development completed Ellipse in St. Louis Park, a housing-retail project with 132 upscale apartments. On its website, Nolan Properties says it focuses on "urban infill projects," primarily in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. The firm said it "works across product types, targeting projects with high barriers to entry, immediate intrinsic value and strong long-term fundamentals."
The developers are attempting to gain a listing on the National Register of Historic Places for the northeast Minneapolis site. They're also seeking several zoning variances involving setbacks, off-street parking and other issues, as well as a conditional use permit, for the project. The city Planning Commission will consider the request at its April 7 meeting.
Not far away from the Central Avenue NE. site, the former Totino's Italian Kitchen site is being redeveloped into Red 20, a 130-unit, six-story apartment building with street-level retail.