-Finance & Commerce
Alatus’ proposed 40-story condo tower in northeast Minneapolis on Thursday gained support from a key panel of Minneapolis City Council members, who voted in favor of the developer in a series of appeals related to the project.After nearly two hours of public testimony and discussion, the Minneapolis Zoning and Planning Committee voted unanimously to overturn the Heritage Preservation Commission’s decision last month to deny a certificate of appropriateness for the building at 200 Central Ave. SE, near St. Anthony Main.
The project is planned on the northeast quadrant of southeast Central Avenue and Second Street. Its location in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District triggered the Heritage Preservation Commission’s review. The developer needed the approvals before it could officially submit site plans and related applications. Heritage Preservation Commission members and some local historic preservation advocates had expressed concern the tower would detract from important aesthetic landmarks in the neighborhood such as the former Pillsbury Library and the historic Ard Godfrey House. But City Council members sided with other area residents and neighborhood leaders who support the project.
“There is an ability to retain these historic buildings to keep that character while simultaneously creating a character of our own in 2016. I do think that building is here today,” said City Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents the ward that includes the project site. Minneapolis-based Alatus intends to break ground on the project this year. The full City Council still needs to sign off on the appeal at its June 17 meeting before the project can be reviewed by the Planning Commission.
Alatus has been working on the project since 2014. It wants to demolish the Washburn-McReavy funeral home and the St. Anthony Athletic Club so it can build the tower, which would offer 207 condos, about 6,700 square feet of first-floor retail space and 333 parking spaces. The preservation commission voted last month to deny the developer a certificate of appropriateness to build the tower, but issued an approval for the developer to raze the structures on the site.
In a separate motion on Thursday, the committee of six City Council members voted in favor of Alatus’s plans to demolish the buildings. That support came despite an appeal filed by a group of area residents who believe the project does not fit the historic character of the neighborhood. While an even mix of about two dozen supporters and opponents testified Thursday, several members of the new Neighbors for East Bank Livability group said razing the buildings for a luxury condo tower would be a mistake.
“We were told that this is a project that will move the city forward in a big way,” said Dale Harren, who lives a few blocks from the project site. “But this proposed transformation is wildly out of character with the area it’s being suggested in.” Despite encountering some pushback, Alatus has received support from the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association and many residents who live near the site. “I don’t think we should be afraid of height — we should embrace it,” said Dan Jacobson, who lives at The Falls condominium complex near St. Anthony Main.
By: Hank Long
Date: June 09, 2016
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