Developers have revised plans for a sprawling 374-unit apartment project that includes a 20-story tower to be built on a full block in a bustling Minneapolis neighborhood near the Mississippi River.
The estimated $100 million project is being proposed by Bloomington-based Doran Cos. and Minneapolis-based CSM Corp. for a three-block site that includes a surface parking lot and a General Mills research facility, which will remain.
Earlier this summer, after presenting plans to neighbors and to the Minneapolis Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole, a team of Doran architects revised plans for the project. “The design changed to incorporate feedback from the neighborhood and Planning Commission Committee of the Whole,” said Tony Kuechle, a senior vice president of development for Doran.
Those plans call for repositioning a 20-story tower along University Avenue and adding eight units, for a total of 215 apartments; a five-story structure with 143 apartments that will front 3rd Avenue SE. and 2nd Street SE.; and 16 walk-up townhouses that wrap around a two-level parking garage. The plans calls for less of a setback to create a stronger connection between the building and the sidewalks.
On Tuesday night, Kuechle presented the revised plans to the Heritage Preservation Commission, which was primarily concerned about the height of the tower. The site is within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, where guidelines limit the height of new buildings to eight stories. Those guidelines, however, conflict with other planning guidelines for the area that call for higher density development, Kuechle said. To meet those targets, the taller building is required, he said.
The development team will continue to discuss those issues with the city and neighborhood groups before submitting final plans to city planners later this month.
Height has been a significant issue for other buildings that have been proposed for the area. A proposal to build an apartment tower that would replace Nye’s Polonaise Room was scaled back to a mid-rise building. And a planned 40-story condo tower has been delayed by a legal challenge from a neighborhood group.
Several other developers have proposed or are already building apartment or condo towers outside the historic district. M.A. Mortenson is nearing groundbreaking on an apartment tower. Lennar Multifamily has topped off an apartment tower and is planning a second phase. Construction is also underway on a high-rise apartment tower on the nearby University of Minnesota campus.
Gina Dingman, principal at NAI Everest, said the northeast and southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods have been highly desirable among renters and developers because of their proximity to downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota and to shops and restaurants.
Other high-end apartment buildings that have opened recently in the area, including the Maverick on the edge of the central business district and the Encore in the Mill District, are all leasing faster than anticipated and at rents that are higher than expected, Dingman said.
And though hundreds of premium-priced units are in the pipeline, Dingman doesn’t expect there to be a glut of vacant apartments. That’s because delivery of those units will be staggered over the next several years.
“It’s not like when 1,200 units were delivered in one quarter in Uptown,” she said. “And people have an affinity for that neighborhood.”