New Lake Street housing and retail redevelopment pursued

Developer Jetmar Properties may redevelop the northeast corner of Pillsbury Avenue and West Lake Street — replacing the current white stucco building with a four-story, 24-unit apartment building with four first-floor retail spots.

The current building has several small businesses, including the Unique Dollar Store and El Mexicano Restaurant.

Keith Hammond, one of Jetmar’s principals, and Andrew Carlson, a zoning inspector with the city’s planning department, called the 110-130 W. Lake Street development "very preliminary."

Hammond and his architects from Young & Wilz showed initial plans to the Whittier Alliance’s Transportation and Land Use Committee. The full Alliance board voted Nov. 25 to support the site plan, conditional use permit and variance.

The development — designed for possible conversion to for-sale units at a later date — would cost roughly $4.4 million, Young & Wilz said.

Jetmar is under contract to buy the property, but hasn’t finalized financing, Hammond said. It is looking for an equity partner and hopes to move ahead by March or April.

Jetmar made the purchase contingent on an environmental review of the site, and an initial report suggests a gas station that operated there from roughly 1920 to 1960 contaminated the soil, he said. It could delay the project by three months. Jetmar is waiting for detailed reports.

The apartment rents are estimated at $1.05 per square foot, according to materials given to the Whittier Alliance. That translates to roughly $945 a month for a 900 square-foot one-bedroom apartment.

Initial designs showed 24 covered parking spots, one per apartment, and 10 parking spaces for the retail stores, but those plans are still changing. The most recent version has 38 stalls for residents, another five spaces for apartment visitors, and 11 retail spaces, Young & Wilz said.

Jetmar plans to have one level of below-grade parking to accommodate future conversion to condos, Hammond said.

The Jetmar development would be a few blocks west of Sherman Associates’ proposed Nicollet Lake Commons Project. That project would include a new Cub Food store, a major discount retail store and roughly 300 new housing units, as well as micro-tenant retail space.