The Edina City Council voted to reject a residential project near Southdale Center late Tuesday night, handing another win to neighbors strongly opposing taller buildings in the area.
The council's decision followed a lengthy discussion that wrapped up just before 11 p.m. The vote rejected an amendment to the comprehensive plan that would have increased density in the area from 30 units per acre to 80 units per acre. The proposed building, with 135 apartment units, was to have risen seven stories.
Council members cited several reasons for voting against the project, which was planned for 7250 France Av. Council Member Mary Brindle said she felt uncomfortable supporting a project that didn't also redevelop the site directly north of it.
This was the latest in a slew of redesigns by the firm DJR Architecture, from a $100 million multisite project down to the remaining single structure.
Residents in the neighborhoods west of Southdale Center and the proposed development strongly opposed the project at a public hearing last month. At that meeting, the council decided to table the matter until Tuesday.
Dean Dovolis, principal at DJR Architecture, tried to withdraw his request to amend the plan Tuesday night but was denied by the council. "I'm not going to withdraw the motion," Council Member Kevin Staunton said.
People present at the meeting were relieved after the vote. Some of the same residents last year were vocal in opposing a pair of skyscrapers known as the Estelle Edina, a project that the council ultimately rejected.
The 7250 France project would have been a U-shaped building that included a terrace on the second floor with a pool and plaza. About 19,000 square feet of retail and office space were proposed at the ground level, as well as 320 underground parking spaces.
Units would have ranged from one to three bedrooms. Twenty percent of the units would have been made available to people who make 60 percent of the city's median income, according to city documents.
Some residents in the single-family neighborhoods west of France Avenue had worried about the impact of increasing density down the street. Many had expressed frustration with council members earlier, saying they did not represent their desires for new development that remains low in height and density.
Council Member Mike Fischer recommended that the developer reduce the building by one story on the side facing the single-family neighborhoods and remove the mezzanine, but he did not win the support from the rest of the council.
"I think that this is a modest change on a site," Fischer said of the project. "This site has got to change. ... We have to get this thing moving in a better direction."
This is not the only project that has been recently proposed near Southdale. A 19-story residential high-rise was proposed on the site of a former Guitar Center location south of the Galleria. That project, which also required a rezoning and comprehensive plan amendment, would add 186 luxury apartments.