Good Samaritan developer drops upzoning request

Developer Swervo, Inc. has dropped its request to the city to upzone the former Good Samaritan nursing home, 4429 Nicollet Ave, to allow a 38-unit housing development.

Current zoning limits the development to 24 units, a restriction Swervo partner Ned Abdul said would be a big waste of square footage.

Instead of pursuing a rezoning request, Swervo is seeking a 20 percent lot area variance, which would allow it to have 29 units, said Gary Dorek, who works in the Planning Department.

A key Kingfield Neighborhood Association committee strongly opposed the upzoning request because of concern the development would not have affordable housing.

The company has said it plans to convert the building into a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, yet Dorek said Abdul’s city application indicates only market-rate housing.

"The Kingfield neighborhood is still committed to having a large number of affordable housing units on that site, and the current developer has not indicated he’s interested in anything other than market-rate units," said Kingfield board member Steve Jevning.

Abdul, who was initially scheduled to appear before the City Council March 18, will now appear April 1. Councilmember Robert Lilligren (8th Ward) asked for a continuance so that Abdul could better detail his plan to the Kingfield neighborhood.

"We’re going to remain steadfast in our desire to get affordable units," said Jevning. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our neighborhood

to do good."