CB2 store at Calhoun Square gets approval from city

The Minneapolis Planning Commission on Dec. 13 approved plans from Calhoun Square to construct a CB2 store next to the mall on the northeast corner of Hennepin and 31st.

CB2 is the hip, urban brand of Crate & Barrel. CB2 sells housewares and furniture for more affordable prices than Crate & Barrel.

Following the Commission’s approval, Calhoun Square’s General Manager Ken Seifert said he expects construction will begin when the ground thaws and the building should be complete in mid-November. A vacant two-level brick building on the site will first have to be demolished.

The plan approvals for CB2 didn’t come without hurdles. The CARAG and ECCO neighborhood groups both spoke against the construction plans and two commissioners voted against the CB2 development.

The Planning Commission in 2008 approved Calhoun Square’s plans to build a five-level mixed-use development that would include residential, commercial and underground parking.

The neighborhood groups cited the Uptown Small Area Plan, which was adopted in 2008 and recommends 3- to 5-level buildings in the heart of Uptown. The CB2 store will be one level tall.

Calhoun Square offered a compromise, to build a store that would allow for the construction of a second level for commercial space on top of CB2, should market conditions improve. But the Commission ended up leaving out a condition requiring them to do so.

 “I don’t think it’s ever going to happen and I think it would be a sub-par addition if it ever did happen, and I would rather see the entire building gone and built the way it should be built,” said Planning Commission President David Motzenbecker.

Motzenbecker and neighborhood representatives said a one-level building does not make the best use of land in the middle of Uptown.

Calhoun Square representatives said they’ve tried to attract office and residential partners for a taller building, but have been unsuccessfully due to the economy.

“One point we can all agree on is CB2 is just a great opportunity for Minneapolis, Uptown and Calhoun Square,” said Carol Lansing, an attorney representing Calhoun Square.  “But if these applications are denied this great opportunity will be lost.”