Calhoun shoreline development gets city OK

By a 6-1 vote Sept. 27, the Minneapolis Planning Commission approved proposed plans for a new condo project at 1805 W. Lake St. Some neighbors plan to appeal the approval to the Minneapolis City Council.

Developer Clark Gassen plans to build a six-story, 26-unit condominium building on the current Edgewater apartment site but needed the city’s OK to move forward due to zoning limitations.

Gassen purchased the site for $2.6 million, originally to convert the Edgewater’s apartments into condos, but found the existing building is sinking, so he chose to rebuild.

The land near Lake Calhoun’s northeast shore is zoned for up to a six-story building, but because it is within 1,000 feet of water, a two-and-a-half story or 35-foot height limit kicked in, absent a city waiver.

The East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO) and the neighboring CARAG neighborhood group passed resolutions asking the city to not support the project, citing height and design problems. However, the East Isles Residents Association, representing residents just north of Lake Street, voted to support the project.

City staff reportedly proposed a compromise height of 56 feet, between Gassen’s 82-foot-height request and the 35-foot shoreline limit. However, the Commission voted in favor of Gassen’s plan.

Said Gassen, "We’re very pleased that we had a chance for a third party to hear both sides," he said after bemoaning what he described as negative media attention from the East Calhoun News and Southwest Journal.

East Calhoun neighbor Steve Buckley said he feels the Commission "slapped us citizens in the face and gave the developer everything he wanted." He said neighbors plan to appeal the Commission’s decision.

Gassen said his next steps would be to work with community members to tweak the building’s design and on relocating all current Edgewater apartment tenants at no charge to them. "It’s the least I can do," he said.