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Apartment buildings pitched to replace Lake Street parking lots

This proposed 128-unit apartment building on Lake Street could replace an auto body shop and its adjacent parking lots.

This proposed 128-unit apartment building on Lake Street could replace an auto body shop and its adjacent parking lots.

What's your favorite historic Minneapolis parking lot?

Don't have one? Then don't worry, you won't care about this plan to get rid of one. 

But if you answered, "Why, of course, it's the 429 West Lake Street parking lot which has been used for automobile sales for seven consecutive decades..." -- well, we're afraid we might have some bad news.

On Thursday, Minneapolis City Planning Commission is reviewing two proposals for apartment complexes to be built on Lake Street. If approved, the two buildings would add nearly 200 new units to the neighborhood.

A 70-apartment complex would rise up from the aformentioned parking lot, currently filled with used cars for sale; the other, a six-story, 128-unit building, would take the space currently held by an auto repair shop and adjacent parking lots. The shop had formerly belonged to Paul Williams Tire, which closed in August 2016 in anticipation of the apartment tower's arrival. 

Plans for the four-story, 70-unit building call for 34 "enclosed" parking spaces -- or 28 parking spots, plus room for 70 bicycles, which could be fixed up in the indoor bike workshop reserved for tenants. The larger apartment building would come with 112 parking spaces (some of them underground), but is even more bike friendly.

"Storage will be provided for 250 bicycles for both resident and guests, along with extensive permanent bike route mapping and a bike repair room place this iconic transportation mode front-and-center of our project."

Love developers or hate 'em, you have to hand it to them for knowing the soft spots of the city council they're asking for variances.  

The 70-unit building would be constructed by CPM, who you might remember from their prolonged battle over rent hikes with tenants in the Whittier neighborhood. CPM tells Finance & Commerce they want to focus on "a more efficient style of aparments." That means little: About 50 of these apartments would come in under 500 square feet, with the largest offering a two-bedroom, 831-square-foot space. 

Lupe Development Partners, the company behind the six-story proposal, does have plans for a handful of little studios (465 or 515 square feet apiece) and some cozy one-bedroom apartments, but the building features room for more spacious one- and two-bedroom options. 

Neither apartment plans to hold commercial space on its ground floor, a popular option for other recent constructions in town.

Here's a rendering of how CPM imagines its 70-unit building.

And here's a reverse angle on Lupe's 128-unit space, in case you wanted to imagine that someday, someone who lives there invites you to make out in the parking lot.