The demolition of a Tudor-style funeral home to make way for a high-rise condo tower near downtown Minneapolis has been delayed.
The delay comes after the Neighbors for East Bank Livability (NEBL) asked a Hennepin County judge to grant an injunction that would prevent Alatus LLC from proceeding with its plans to build a 42-story mixed-use tower that would replace the Washburn-McReavy funeral home and the adjacent St. Anthony Athletic Club at the corner of 2nd Street and Central Avenue in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood in Minneapolis.
That request, filed by on behalf of the group by William Griffith of the Larkin Hoffman law firm, said the tower isn’t compatible with the guidelines that govern development in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. It appeals a September decision by the Minneapolis Planning Commission to grant the developer a conditional-use permit that allows the developer to exceed the maximum height of four stories and a variance to increase the maximum floor area ratio from 2.04 to 14.42.
In its request for an injunction, NEBL contends the approval “is an extreme departure from the city’s own regulations, and would be a dangerous precedent placing historic and residential districts across Minneapolis at risk.”
The group contends that by approving the project, it overruled the decision of the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, which rejected the zoning variance based on the height of the 483-foot tower.
In a statement, Erich Wunderlich, NEBL president, said the project represents “ … extreme overreach. The city has abdicated its responsibility in the planning process.”
The funeral home at 200 Central Av. SE. was built nearly 90 years ago as the St. Anthony Commercial Club building and was considered a contributing building to the historic district. But the developer received a certificate of appropriateness to demolish it. After several months of trying to find someone who was willing to move the building, Alatus had planned to start demolition.
Chris Osmundson, development director for Alatus, said that demolition was supposed to start on Nov. 22, but it was suspended to wait for the court hearing.
Hennepin County District Judge Daniel Moreno is scheduled to hear the complaint on Dec. 23.