Lake Calhoun tower proposal meeting neighborhood resistance

LAKE OF THE ISLES – The Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association’s board of directors voted Wednesday to oppose plans for a new apartment building on a prominent lot north of Lake Calhoun, saying developers have presented designs that are too large for the area.

Golden Valley-based Bigos Development has put forward three separate designs for the site, at 2622 West Lake St., including a 13-story, 136-foot-tall building with around 170 units, and an 8-story, “L” shaped building that would have a larger footprint on the 1.5-acre lot.

Developers have also offered a “C” shaped, 56-foot-tall building, but have not seriously discussed the proposal, according to neighborhood leaders. 

The Calhoun Beach Club, which sits just west of the now-vacant site, is 136-feet tall, but a resolution passed by the neighborhood group suggests another tower would be “invasive to the neighborhood.”

The resolution says the building would disrupt views for those living in the Calhoun Beach Club and loom over the Midtown Greenway and residences that sit north of the site.

The resolution also points to city zoning rules that place the site in a Shoreland Overlay District, limiting building height to 35 feet. The site is zoned for a building height of 56-feet without the overlay.

Robert Corrick, the chair of the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association’s land use and development committee, said he and others aren’t opposed to any building on the site, and have been hoping to compromise with the developers.

So far, though, they have been unwilling to negotiate, he said.

“They’ve had a vision from the start that an iconic tower on the site is the best way to develop this property,” he said.

This is not the first development planned for the site. Once home to the Weisman Enterprises building, the land was cleared in 2006 by the Lander Group amid plans to build 86- and 70-foot towers with high-end condominiums.

Those plans were supported by the neighborhood, but faltered amid the economic collapse.

This is not Bigos only development in the area, either. The company is also seeking to expand the Calhoun Greenway apartments, adding a six-story, 187-unit building at 3150 Chowen Ave. S.  

Plans for that project went before the Planning Commission of the Whole on Thursday, where officials asked designers to rework their design to reduce shadowing of the Midtown Greenway which sits just north of the site.

The Midtown Greenway’s board of directors, which opposes the present design, was set to meet with Bigos officials on Thursday night.

The Midtown Greenway board had not taken a formal position on the Weisman site as of Thursday morning, but executive director Soren Jensen said the group was likely to side with the neighborhood group.

Attempts to reach Bigos Development were immediately unsuccessful.

Reach Drew Kerr at dkerr@mnpubs.com.