Stevens Square, Loring Park may team up on housing

Stevens Square neighborhood might join forces with Loring Park’s neighborhood group on a citywide initiative to draw more housing to Nicollet Avenue.

Nicollet Avenue, also dubbed Eat Street, cuts through the two neighborhoods between Grant Street and Franklin Avenue.

Earlier this year, the Minneapolis-based Center for Neighborhoods selected Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC) to participate in its Corridor Housing Initiative — a collaboration of neighborhood, city and county leaders who hope to spur housing development. City leaders project a need for 26,000 new units in the next two decades.

The designation means the neighborhood gets assistance from the coalition in market research, community outreach and fund-raising efforts.

CLPC’s Corridor Housing Initiative proposal calls for high-density housing along Nicollet Avenue south of West 15th Street, plus a nonprofit office cooperative above the Red Eye Theatre, 15 W. 14th St. and a outdoor public space nearby on Nicollet.

CLPC President John Van Heel said the neighborhood group is examining the possibility of designating Nicollet Avenue a development district in Loring Park and Stevens Square. Such a designation would potentially allow the groups to apply for grants to attract developers.

Before the construction of Interstate-94, the neighborhoods shared one commercial district.

Van Heel said he would like to see collaboration on Eat Street landscaping and storefronts. He would also like community leaders to consider adding decking on the I-94/Nicollet Avenue bridge to add landscaping.

"It would tie the neighborhoods together," Van Heel said.