Elevage Development Group’s revised plan for a hotel-and-condo building at Lake & Excelsior calls for a taller, slimmer structure and wider sidewalks. A public walkway would run through the building, connecting Lake Street to Excelsior Boulevard.
“Before we were short and more squatty,” Elevage principal Corey Burstad said. “We pulled it in and got it a little thinner.”
In early July, Hennepin County is scheduled to start tearing down the BP gas station standing on the triangular site. After a 90-day remediation period, construction is scheduled to start in the fall. The hotel would open by summer 2021.
Elevage still wants to include 100 hotel rooms, 20 condominiums and a rooftop deck. But to accommodate a new 12-foot-wide sidewalk on Excelsior Boulevard and a 10-foot sidewalk on Lake Street, Elevage is planning to add an additional ninth story, which would increase the building’s height by 24 feet. The new median at Lake & Excelsior would also get wider sidewalks to make room for bikes and people crossing the busy road.
“Originally this was designed for cars, how fast can we get them through the space, and I think now we’re reclaiming that and creating a much more pedestrian, safe environment,” said Jesse Symynkywicz, the project’s landscape architect.
The revised plans also call for:
- Additional vegetation, such as prairie dropseed, purple coneflower, white coneflower, salvia, black-eyed Susans and birch trees.
- Added space for a ground-level restaurant, including 58 feet of street-level outdoor seating along Excelsior Boulevard.
- A bus stop recessed into the Lake Street side of the building.
- A total of 95 parking spaces, 11 fewer than in the previous plan.
Some members of the West Calhoun Neighborhood Council praised the design’s smaller footprint and lighter-colored sandstone facade at an April 9 meeting.
“It looks a hell of a lot better, a lot tighter and neater,” board member Paul Legler said.
Others, like board member Martha Yunker, found the design “blocky, mundane and icky.”
There was general concern over the height of the 124-foot building and questions about whether it created a “coherent character” for the neighborhood.
“I’d asked in the past to tie this building aesthetically to other landmark buildings in the area,” board member Victoria Hoshal said. “That hasn’t happened; there’s no aesthetic reference to either Minikahda or the Calhoun Beach Club.”
Board chair Allan Campbell said that “coming from Uptown, the hotel will really be the entry point to the neighborhood.”
“We’d like to see something relating perhaps to the Lakota and the Native American name of the lake, something to tie into that theme,” he said.
Elevage will submit its revised plans to the city next week.