A revamped proposal for a nearly full-block redevelopment of a vintage McDonald’s in Dinkytown will be among four large apartment projects totaling nearly 1,200 units combined that will be reviewed this week by a Minneapolis Planning Commission panel.
After a contentious reception, Chicago-based CA Ventures revamped the Dinkytown project, slashing the height of the original 25-story tower first pitched for the site several years ago.
That project is not far from where a partnership that includes another Chicago-based developer is submitting revised plans for a 12-story student-housing project including 274 units with 810 bedrooms and 2,500 square feet of commercial space at 801 SE. 15th Av.
Also up for review is a project in the Harrison neighborhood in north Minneapolis, where Wellington Management wants to build Currie Commons, a mixed-use building with 198 income-restricted rentals and one retail tenant on a former industrial site 187 N. Humboldt Av.
And in the nearby North Loop neighborhood, the commission will also review plans for what’s known as the Duffey Paper project, which includes the adaptive reuse of two warehouse buildings and construction of a mixed-use building with 351 rental units and about 50,000 square feet of commercial space.
The McDonald’s Dinkytown site has been in play the longest.
CA Ventures has been working for several years to redevelop a portion of that block, which fronts SE. 15th Avenue between SE. 4th and 5th streets in an area near the University of Minnesota where residents and business owners have hotly debated the height and density of the building that would replace storefronts that some deem historic.
CA Ventures has been assembling parcels for the project for several years and originally pitched a 25-story apartment building in an area where the maximum height limit is just four stories. Late last year the developer rolled out a new plan that called for a nine-story building with 300 rental units and 23,000 square feet of commercial space, including three commercial spaces that would face SE. 4th Street and a large commercial space fronting SE. 5th Street.
At the time, Ryan Sadowy, senior director of development for CA Ventures, said the revision was aimed at addressing concerns raised during the community-review process and better aligning with the objectives set forth in the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
That plan also called for enhanced transit shelters, pedestrian upgrades, bicycle amenities, public art and reduced-rate commercial spaces.
At issue, too, has been affordability. Students have argued in favor of less-expensive units in an area where new buildings have replaced some of the least-expensive rentals in the neighborhood.
In an area that includes the U and several adjacent neighborhoods, the average monthly apartment rent was $1,175, a nearly 8% annual increase, according to a first-quarter report from Marquette Advisors.
That increase is due in part to the proliferation of new, market-rate apartments, but also a dearth of rentals. The average vacancy rate at the end of March was 3.3% compared with 4.8% the year before.
Sadowy was unavailable to comment Tuesday, but the staff report submitted to the city said the project will be “one of the first” to include affordable housing for students; the report doesn’t include specifics on how that will be achieved.
By abandoning the taller option, the developer will eliminate the need to seek an amendment to the new Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan, which encourages more height and density in some areas.
The newest proposal, which calls for a six- and seven-story building (part of the site slopes) is more closely aligned with the goals of the 2040 plan, according to Chris Palkowitsch, an architect with BKV Group.
Though the building is shorter than originally proposed, it has more units because the developer is adding a parcel that was not part of its original plan.