Lyndale neighborhood plans market-rate apartments on Nicollet

The Lyndale Neighborhood Association (LNA) wants to buy an empty lot at 3329 Nicollet Ave. to build family-friendly apartments.

Members of LNA’s Housing, Planning and Development Committee envision about eight units, perhaps three bedrooms each, with front porches. The project might rise about four stories, keeping with the site’s zoning.

“We have a lot of multigenerational families living together in the neighborhood,” said Mark Hinds, LNA executive director. He said the area vacancy rate on three- and four-bedroom units has stood at nearly zero for decades.

The group is considering market-rate prices — no “bellman,” but no “cardboard box” either. The eight-unit concept could change as they explore financing.

“There may be a reason why no one’s building eight-unit buildings in the city,” Hinds said.

The mid-block site went into foreclosure in 2011, and the city currently owns the land. LNA has money to buy the site through its Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds. The neighborhood group would like to partner with a developer to build the apartments, and may seek construction help from neighborhood volunteers. LNA would like to hire a management company and keep the property on its books as a revenue source.

“The building would be good for the neighborhood, and it’s a long-term way to support our organization in the neighborhood,” Hinds said.

He said LNA has developed several properties in the past, including its community center at 3537 Nicollet Ave.  

“Fifteen years ago, you could pick up properties for $1,” he said. “We owned them, fixed them up, and provided funding for a ton of houses and buildings.”

LNA hopes to have a solid plan in place by the fall and break ground in the spring of 2015.