Rex 26 developer’s appeal denied

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A developer’s bid to add more residential units to a development at the corner of 26th & Lyndale was denied by the City Council Zoning and Planning Committee.

The committee’s unanimous vote at its Feb. 15 meeting upheld an earlier Planning Commission decision to reject a floor-area-ratio variance for the Rex 26 project. Developer Master Properties and the property owner, Mark Vannelli, were seeking to increase the number of residential units in the mixed-use project to 97 from 86. The four-story building, which is closer to five stories in actual height, includes an ALDI grocery store on the ground floor.

Construction is already underway at the site. In their appeal, the property owner and developer noted “the grocery tenant has required major design modifications” that have added to the project’s costs.

Committee member and Council President Lisa Bender said the economic pressures on the developer and property owner were not the city’s concern. Council Member Lisa Goodman agreed, adding that the arguments presented in the appeal “do not remotely meet” the legal requirements for an additional variance. Goodman said she hoped the committee vote “sends a message” to other developers.