Development update

Plans for Fulton senior housing complex moving forward

FULTON — On July 7, representatives from The Waters Senior Living presented preliminary plans for a 90-unit senior living complex at 50th & Beard to the Fulton Neighborhood Association’s Zoning Committee.

The four-floor, $21.5 million project is set to feature 62 assisted living units, 21 memory support units and seven care suites. With the aid of Tax Increment Financing funds, The Waters hopes to make 20 percent of the 50th & Beard housing affordable units.

Using demographic information and accounting for existing facilities, The Waters recently completed a study that concluded there is demand for more than 250 assisted living units in the part of Southwest extending from the city limits north to Lake Street.

Jay Jensen, principal and senior vice president of The Waters, said the Fulton area is “a very strong market” for the type of services his company offers.

Residents at The Waters complexes are typically in their mid-to-upper 80s, he added.

Ellen Berner, chair of Fulton’s zoning committee, said the prospect of a senior housing complex in the neighborhood has been well received by residents.

However, Sue Frankowski, a longtime Fulton resident who lives across the street from 50th & Beard, said she thinks a complex targeting a slightly younger demographic would be preferable.

The Waters “will have more of a nursing home atmosphere, but we have so many shops and bars. It’s kind of a mini Uptown around here. In my opinion, a 55-plus senior complex would be a better fit,” she said.

Frankowski also said that she and her neighbors, many of whom live in one-floor ramblers, are concerned about the prospect of a four-floor building towering over them from the now-vacant lot across the street, which housed a funeral home until about a half-dozen years ago.

She complimented the preliminary plan for suggesting the complex will be constructed with quality materials but said she hopes the top floors will step-back to make the building appear less tall when plans are revised.

Regarding Frankowski’s concerns, Jensen said “it’s always helpful to get that kind of input,” adding that his architect is working to tweak plans in response to concerns voiced at the July 7 meeting.

Jensen said a revised site plan will then be brought back to the Fulton neighborhood for public comment at an Aug. 10 meeting.

The Waters owns and operates senior living facilities in Eden Prairie, Sauk Center, Grand Rapids and Forest Lake, among other locations. The company also owns and operates a senior facility at 3720 23rd Ave. S. in the Standish neighborhood.

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More apartments lined up for Uptown

THE WEDGE — Two apartment developments planned for the Uptown area are moving through the city approval process.

On July 18, the Minneapolis Planning Commission recommended final site plan approval for both the residential redevelopment of the Buzza Building and an apartment complex at the Bennett East Lumber site.

Plans call for the 144,3400 square-foot Buzza Building, located just south of the Midtown Greenway and north of West Lake Street along Colfax Avenue South, to be redeveloped from an office space into an apartment building with 137 units, including a mix of studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

A staff report notes that the proposed renovation work on the existing building will be predominately an interior removal, as the exterior was renovated less than a decade ago.

Just across the Greenway, the plans for the Bennett East Lumber site involve a three building development in between Colfax and Dupont avenues south. A total of 217 apartments would be constructed with a mix of studios, one, two and three-bedroom units.

The two buildings facing the Greenway will be six floors, the one further north will be four. Glass skyways will connect the buildings, and located toward the interior of the buildings will be an outdoor seating area and a swimming pool.

The City Council was scheduled to vote on project approvals July 22.