Update: Main Street NE Apartment Proposals

The developers forwarded these recently updated summaries, applications to the city, and drawings of the buildings:

Final consideration by the STAWNO board of plans for two apartment buildings proposed for 1011-1027 Main St. NE (175 units) and 1018-1024 Main St. NE (113 units) will take place Thursday, Aug. 8. All are invited to attend the meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the lower-level meeting room at MainStreet Lodge, 909 Main St. NE (accessible location).

At the June 13 STAWNO meeting, developers joined us for a presentation and initial discussion of their plans. The meeting was well attended; concerns were raised about both the specific project as well as general neighborhood traffic and parking issues.

A follow-up meeting was held July 9, and the developers forwarded updated drawings and summaries of the project.

STAWNO then forwarded this comment letter to the developers, outlining neighborhood concerns and recommendations:

July 11, 2019
Curt Gunsbury Solhem Companies
724 N lst St, Suite 500
Minneapolis MN 55401
Hi Curt and team,
I want to share the neighborhood priorities that STAWNO confirmed at its workshop Tuesday evening. The workshop was well attended by area residents and we were able to reach consensus on development topics and issues.
I very much appreciate that you gave the community space for this workshop by not attending – it did contribute to our success. STAWNO looks forward to setting down with you later this month to formally conclude consideration of the development proposals.
The neighborhood priorities below reflect many of the comments you heard at our initial meeting in June. Please review the items below and let me know your thoughts and concerns.

  1. Ownership units. STAWNO requests that the 2 projects provide a total of at least 8 ownership units with a 2 bedroom minimum. The number of units is based on the housing units removed from the housing stock for the proposed projects. STAWNO believes that homeownership is one of the factors in providing diversity, stability, and affordability for the community. We understand that this request complements discussions currently underway between you and Councilmember Fletcher.
  2. 20% of units at 60% of AMI. STAWNO requests that at least 20% of the rental units be at 60% of AMI or 10% of the homeownership units be at 80% of AMI. Affordability is a neighborhood and City value. This is an opportunity for the development team to demonstrate leadership as the City works toward these inclusionary housing goals. STAWNO’s history is one grounded in workforce housing, we would like to ensure affordability remains in our neighborhood.
  3. More affordable parking. STAWNO requests that parking fees be adjusted as a strategy to fully occupy the spaces to help mediate on-street parking difficulties.
  4. Art/culture/history. We appreciate the acknowledgement of the cultural and historic importance of the brewmaster’s house. STAWNO requests that the proposal for incorporating the “brewmaster’s house memorial” be more fully developed by the time of our next meeting.
  5. Landscaping/transition for abutting property owners. STAWNO appreciates the follow-up and solutions suggested for the abutting property owners – Eric Sobania, Cathy Heidelberg, and Luba Smulka. STAWNO very much wants to see an attractive and practical transition between the development proposals and the nearby property owners that includes thoughtfulness to privacy and reduction of strong lighting going into neighbors yards/homes. We want to see the collaboration and consideration given to Luba also be given to Eric and Cathy. As part of this consideration, STAWNO wants the south side of the West Building to not have sidewalk and entrances facing the neighbor’s home and yard to avoid a busy walkway and noise/lighting intrusion.
    Saint Anthony West Neighborhood Organization
    Main Street Lodge
    909 Main Street NE, Lower Level Telephone: 612-758-0020
    Minneapolis, MN 55413 www.stawno.org
  6. Traffic management. STAWNO appreciates that you will be working with the City and a consultant on traffic issues specific to the development; we see this as an opportunity to coordinate other traffic concerns and possible solutions with Councilmember Fletcher. Issues STAWNO has identified include long-term on-street parking, speeding through the alley, desire for no bike lanes on Main St NE as the road is currently well served by the median and the neighborhood has a desire to not lose any on-street parking, and need for a safe crossing of 8th Ave at Main St.
  7. Dog DNA. Experience from the Julia is that dog walkers are not cleaning up after their pets; STAWNO requests that “dog DNA” be required to help pet owners behave responsibly. A recent article on this approach can be found at https://rentalhousingjournal.com/the-scoop-on-how-pet-dna-testing-fixes-your-apartment-poop-problem/
    In closing, I want to note that residents recognize the many quality features, attention to detail, and green design that are present in the proposals.
    Looking forward to meeting with you.
    Regards,
    Margaret A. Egan
    Board Chair

On June 20, the city’s Planning Commission Committee of the Whole discussed the two proposals. The Planning Commission Committee of the Whole is an informal meeting of the Planning Commission open to the public but it is not a public hearing. Its purpose is to give the Planning Commission and city staff the chance to discuss potential applications and give informal feedback prior to a project being submitted for public hearing. The project is expected to go before the Planning Commission for a public hearing on variances sometime in August. The developers hope to break ground this fall.