The news broke in April. Developers CSM Corporation and Doran Companies had purchased almost nine acres behind St. Anthony Main along University Avenue SE for $15.8 million. In an interview with the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Kelly Doran spoke of a massive residential development, with its centerpiece an 18- to 20-story tower of “upscale” units.
Months later, their updated vision would be a 20-floor building, along with a five-floor apartment complex and a cluster of one- and two-story townhouses sandwiched in between.
Minneapolis City Planner Peter Crandall has described the proposal as “higher-end residential… on a more expensive side,” featuring amenities like an outdoor spa and bocce ball courts.
City Councilman and mayoral candidate Jacob Frey represents the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. Though he’s quick to note the project is still in its nascent stages, Frey wouldn’t be sad to bid farewell to the large patch of dormant blacktop.
“I have no interest in preserving a surface parking lot,” he says, adding that building more residential units can only help to alleviate the city’s pinched rental market, in which “demand is far outpacing supply, thus increasing prices.”
Not everyone is equally pumped.
Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association’s Chris Lautenschlager has reservations about the tower’s height and placement along University Avenue SE. The group uses the nearby Pillsbury A Mill’s red tile elevator, which spans 16 stories, as its point of reference.
“That’s the height we wouldn’t want this project to go beyond,” he says. “We think it’s a good benchmark, because it’s emblematic of the milling district, representing the area’s history.”
Lautenschlager wants to see the main tower off the avenue and closer to the existing multi-stories like the elevator and the ten-floor Phoenix On the River condos.
“We would like University Avenue to be more pedestrian-friendly, maybe more of a retail thing, instead of a tall building looming over people."
Considering the project’s proximity to campus, the Minnesota Student Association would like to see 15 to 20 percent of the units reserved as affordable housing, renting for around $1,000 per month.
“We should have these opportunities for students to live in that area … in something that might be a bit newer,” the group’s Grant Simons told the Minnesota Daily earlier this week.
CSM Corporation could not be reached for comment. However, the developers plan to host a neighborhood open house on October 3, according to Doran spokesperson Tonya Tennessen.