Planning Commission approves revised 44th Street apartment project

Thirty-six apartments will stand on the site of a single-family home, three detached parking garages and a vacant property formerly owned by writer Brenda Ueland.
Thirty-six apartments will stand on the site of a single-family home, three detached parking garages and a vacant property formerly owned by writer Brenda Ueland.

The City Planning Commission on Monday approved six applications related to a proposed three-story, 36-unit, market-rate apartment building on 44th Street near Lake Harriet in Linden Hills.

The commission voted to approve on one conditional-use-permit application, four variance applications and a site-plan-review application for the project, called 44th at Harriet. The commission’s decisions will be final after a 10-day appeal period.

Development company Commers Property Development, Inc. is planning to build a 44,020-square-foot building with 23 studio units, one one-bedroom unit, three one-bedroom-plus-den units and nine two-bedroom units, according to plans the company submitted to the city. Part of the site once included a single-family house in which writer Brenda Ueland lived for about 30 years. The City Council voted 6-5 in March 2017 to allow the demolition of that house.

Developers John Gross and Andrew Commers submitted plans to the city for a four-story, eight-unit multi-family building on the site in fall 2017. But the Planning Commission and City Council denied their request to build four stories on the site.

The newly proposed building will have an underground parking garage with 32 spaces, plus four parking spaces on the first floor that will be accessed from the public alley behind the building, the plans say.

The structure will consist of three stories of wood construction above the underground concrete structure, with exterior materials of brick, glass and metal panel, according to the plans.

“This new building would become the place to live in the quaint neighborhood,” a project-information sheet says.

The building will be immediately surrounded on both sides by single-family homes, according to the plans. There are also several multi-family buildings on the block.

Pedestrians on the path around Lake Harriet will not be able to see the building, according to the plans. The building will have limited visibility from the lake, which is located approximately 380 feet east of the site, according to the a report from the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development department.

The site is comprised of four underlying parcels totaling 27,939 square feet. It contains one vacant lot, one single-family home built in 1915 that would be removed and three detached parking garages.

The site is zoned as an R4 multiple-family district and is also part of a Shoreland Overlay District. R4 allows for the lesser or four stories or 56 feet by right, and the Shoreland Overlay District allows for the lesser of 2.5 stories or 35 feet by right. When two zoning provisions are in conflict, the overlay district governs.

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