Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with a small, narrow piece of land on Washington Avenue near the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis.
Plans for the duly named Guthrie Liner Parcel fell through when Mortenson Development announced earlier this month it was abandoning a plan to build a 10-story tower with a 235-room Hyatt Centric hotel on the property. The development was also supposed to have offices for the American Academy of Neurology and restaurant or retail space.
If the new plans for the site have a residential component, Joe Tamburino, chairman of the influential Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, said he hoped they would be condominiums. In Tamburino’s view, the Mill District is already flooded with apartments and affordable housing and could use more owner-occupied units.
“The Mill District was built on owner-occupied,” he said. “The anchors of the neighborhood were not rentals. The anchors of the neighborhood were owner-occupied.”
Condos are constructed better, have less turnover, improve home values and help with the tax base, he said.
Tamburino pointed to a host of apartment projects already close to the site, including Latitude 45, the Mill District City Apartments, the apartments at the Ironclad, Encore apartments, and the apartments going up at 205 Park Av. There are also complexes that offer primarily affordable units such as Emanuel Housing, the St. Anthony Mills Apartments, the Mill City Quarter Apartments and the recently proposed 100-unit Aeon project.
City planners are preparing another request for proposals for the city-owned property at 800 Washington Av. Tamburino said he hoped the city will wait until after the neighborhood group’s annual meeting on Oct. 24, when the public could express what they would like to see at the property. A member of the planning staff said they will wait to seek proposals until after that meeting.