East Calhoun group votes against six-story lake-area development

At its July meeting, the East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO) voted 8-2 not to support a luxury 26-unit condominium building proposed for the current Edgewater apartment site at 1805 W. Lake St.

Neighborhood group votes are advisory to the Minneapolis Planning Commission and City Council, which will vote on developer Clark Gassen’s request for conditional-use permits and variances for the project.

Because the building, which is just east of the Lake Calhoun refectory, is within 1,000 feet of shore, it is subject to a height limit of two-and-a-half stories or 35 feet tall, whichever is lower. The city could grant a conditional-use permit to allow a taller structure.

Gassen purchased the site for $2.6 million and had originally wanted to convert the Edgewater’s apartments into condos. But he said a survey of the building found that the structure is sinking, so it would be better to rebuild. He plans to build anew, creating a landmark or "Gateway to Uptown."

ECCO board member Gary Farland said the building is too tall and would make other shoreline properties vulnerable to larger developments. At least one nearby property owner and resident, Nancy Beskar, said before the vote that Gassen’s proposal is much more reasonable than other 20-story development proposals she’s seen in the past. She said she also likes the project because it will better manage the property’s overflow of parking into the neighborhood.

Gassen said he’s disappointed that he doesn’t have ECCO’s support but said he is satisfied with support he has received from neighbors such as Beskar and the East Isles Residents Association — the neighborhood group just north across Lake Street. Gassen said he believes the city will approve his application.

The area’s Councilmember, Dan Niziolek (10th Ward), said he is awaiting public testimony before making a decision on the project.

Gassen’s application for permits and variances will be before the Minneapolis Planning Commission Monday, Aug. 9. Public testimony will be heard. The meeting is held in City Hall’s room 317, 350 S. 5th St., at 4:30 p.m.