Once stalled, Lyn-Lake housing project advances

On June 27, the Minneapolis City Council agreed to sell land at 2935 Aldrich Ave. to Village Green Residential Properties. Village Green will construct a four-story, 75-rental-unit building on what is now a Lyn-Lake business district parking lot.

Village Green’s owners have agreed to pay $663,000 for the Lowry Hill East lot — about 40 percent above the area’s market rate, said Gregory Finstad, the city’s director of Transportation and Public Services.

Developer David Dewey said the project is unsubsidized; units will rent at market rates, and affordable housing is not part of the project.

The Village Green development will include approximately 60 public underground parking spaces to replace the current surface parking. Dewey said the Lyn-Lake Business Association and area retailers have been paying a special assessment for the parking lot, which has not seen heavy use. He said that those assessments will be substantially reduced once Village Green is developed.

Scott Fossum, Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association president, said his group is concerned that first-floor space on Lake Street will no longer be retail. He said board members want retail because it makes the area more vibrant. Last year, he said, developers showed conceptual drawings with retail in the project.

Dewey said the Lake Street frontage is not deep enough to accommodate retail, and will be used for Village Green’s leasing office and for home-office space for residents. Dewey said Village Green will put 400 square feet of retail into another development at 1221 W. Lake St., the former Perkins Restaurant site.

Fossum said that the neighborhood is glad to have more housing and retain parking, but without retail, the whole project is "less desirable."

He said, "We anticipated that there would be some small shops there."

Fossum said that the final design probably will be brought back to the LHENA board. "We can voice our concern then," he said.