What next at Linden Hills?

After years of discussion and revisions, the developer of a small, but controversial condominium building in the Linden Hills neighborhood of south Minneapolis has pulled the plug on the project most recently known as Linden Crossing.

A group identified as 43up LLC in public records paid $1.68 million for a nearly half-acre parcel, best known for its Famous Dave’s restaurant. The seller was listed as Golden Valley-based Linden Landholdings, and the deal closed Feb. 7. The property most recently sold for $525,000 in late 2003 and had an estimated market value of $606,000 in 2013.

The site is in the heart of the Linden Hills business district, a quaint collection of small shops and restaurants in an area where residents have fiercely defended the walkability and scale of its one- and two-story store fronts, some of them built in the early 20th century.

In 2011, Mark Dwyer, a longtime Linden Hills resident and first-time developer, proposed building a five-story building with 32 condos on the site. Reaction was mixed, petitions were circulated and the proposal led to a moratorium on large-scale development in the area.

Last year, a scaled-down building with only half as many condo units was approved. Dwyer and a group of investors have long had an option to buy the land, but were unable to do so when an investor “didn’t perform,” Dwyer said.

“We were sad to lose the opportunity but have been so grateful to work with neighbors and the city,” he said. “We had such a great team and we’re proud of that.”

Ben Ganje, an agent with Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty, said that condo pre-sales were strong and that demand for upscale condos in the area wasn’t an issue. Eight of the 19 planned units had buyers, he said. Separately, Ganje said he recently sold three units in a nearby condo project called 4255 Lofts for $1.19 million each.

“The market supported the product in a big way, but at end of day it [the decision to scuttle the plan] was out my hands,” Ganje said.

New plans for the site have yet to be announced.

Jim Buchta