A Denver-based developer on Monday unveiled three designs for a 200-unit residential project that would replace a 1950s office building on the north side of Lake Calhoun.
Brickstone Partners told the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association it wants to construct a 13-story building that would take up a minimal amount of the building site, which is already flanked by two high-density residential developments.
The firm said it is willing to consider a nine-story or six-story building as an alternative, though both would take up more ground space than the tallest one.
“While all three designs are great options, our aim is to be cognizant of the property’s neighbors, the beautiful surrounding scenery and urban design,” said Dan Otis, principal at Brickstone Partners. “Given these factors, we believe our 13-story design is the best fit, allowing for a much more green space and a responsible footprint.”
In August 2015, an entity associated with Brickstone paid the Ackerberg Group $8 million for the Lake Pointe Corporate Center at 3100 W. Lake St. The 50,000-square-foot building was built in 1953 and has been home to longtime tenants, including several doctors and dentists. The building is best-known for a colorful, nearly three-story steel sculpture on its driveway and a pair of oversized green Adirondack chairs on its lawn.
All three Brickstone designs to replace that building include about 200 residential units. Each building would have underground parking spaces, a rooftop pool and fitness and yoga rooms. They also include a street-level gourmet coffee shop and juice bar that is open to the public.
Brickstone initially proposed a much-taller building, but the neighborhood association asked for some other options.
The firm’s 13-story tower would take the least amount of space on the lot and allow more green space between adjacent buildings.
The nine-story building would be shaped like a “C” and would be built of concrete and wood, offering a hybrid option that steps from nine stories to four stories on the side of the building fronting Lake Street. That building offers slightly less open space than the 13-story tower, but it still accommodates space between the neighboring properties.
A six-story, wood-frame doughnut-shaped building would be more conventional. The six-story option takes up most of the site and would have the least green space.
Aaron Roseth of ESG Architects said that one of goals of the designs is to maximize views of the lake and of the downtown Minneapolis skyline, while giving “breathing room between the buildings,” he said.
Because the Brickstone site is within the shoreline overlay district, which has a 35-foot height limit, the project will need a conditional-use permit when it eventually makes its way through the municipal entitlement process.
Several buildings in the area have those approvals.
Concerns about the height of the new building are not new to the neighborhood or the city, where developers have offered proposals for buildings that far exceed the height restrictions in those areas. In the Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhood, one of the primary concerns has been about the way that tall buildings shade the Midtown Greenway path, an old rail path used for biking, running and walking.
Otis said that if they proceed with plans for the 13-story building there’s a chance they might build for-sale condos. That is a new product to Brickstone and condos are currently in short supply in the Twin Cities.
Otis said that he hopes to develop a “sophisticated and refined” building that melds into the fabric of the neighborhood. “We own our buildings for many decades so we want them to stand the test of time and not be trendy,” he said.
Bob Corrick, chair of the neighborhood association’s land-use committee, said it will take a position on the project after a public hearing.
“We’re not in a position of telling the developer whether they can build condos or rentals,” he said. “At this point we’re much more interested in getting good urban designs that respect the neighborhood and the stakeholders involved.”
This would be the first project in Minnesota for Brickstone, which has developed more than 2.1 million square feet of office, retail and housing in Colorado. The firm was founded in 2001. It is run by Otis, who moved from Colorado to the Twin Cities.
“We are very excited to be a part of the thriving market here,” Otis said. “And it is important to us that our designs honor the architectural heritage of the area and enhance the neighborhood from multiple perspectives.”