10-unit apartment pitched on narrow Uptown lot

A four-story, 10-unit building is planned for 2812 Fremont Ave. S. Submitted rendering

A house a block from the Midtown Greenway in Uptown could be demolished this fall to make way for a four-story apartment building.

The 10-unit building at 2812 Fremont Ave. S. would come with just two parking spaces.

A proposal, which was approved by the city’s Planning Commission on June 3, calls for a 50-foot-high, stucco-and-cement building with cedar accents, bay windows and a rooftop deck overlooking the dog park behind Flux Apartments.

There would be two units per floor, including two apartments in the basement. Nine of the units would have two bedrooms; a first-floor unit would have just one.

The two parking spots — one ADA accessible — and a covered shelter for up to six bicycles would be located behind the building, facing the alley.

The two-and-a-half story house that would be torn down was built in 1900 and is owned by developers Drew Levin and Danny Perkins, hosts of the HGTV show Renovate To Rent. Their company bought the house for $350,000 in 2014.

Perkins told the Planning Commission that two of the apartment building’s 10 units would be affordable to households making less than 80% of Minneapolis’ medium income, which currently translates to a monthly rent of under $1,800. He said one of those two units would be affordable to families making less than 70% of the median income, which means rent of about $1,650 or less.

The Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) told city staff that it was concerned about the “massing effect” the building creates.

“The form of the structure is entirely out of context with what has been approved to the south,” board member Rachel Usher told the Planning Commission. “The homes to the north are extremely well maintained fabric homes that we want to be respectful of.”

Planning commissioner Ryan Kronzer noted that the site is zoned a high-density R5 multi-family district and said he thought the building’s design was “compatible” with surrounding homes.

“There is a front porch on this project, which is very much in character with the neighborhood,” he said.

The Wedge’s neighborhood association also said it was disappointed about the developer’s plans to cut down a mature tree on the site. Plans call for two other trees to be planted.

Mick Stoddard, a DJR Architecture associate, said fitting the building onto a narrow 40-foot lot wouldn’t have been feasible without a City Council ordinance, passed in 2015, that eliminated parking minimums for small apartment buildings within a quarter-mile of high-frequency transit.

“You have to have enclosed bike parking and trash, and there’s little leftover for more than two parking spots on that site,” he said.

The Planning Commission approved two variances on June 3, including a reduction of the yard setback on the side of the building facing the Flux’s dog park.

A two-and-a-half story duplex, built in 1900, would be demolished to make room for the apartment building. Photo by Zac Farber
A two-and-a-half story house, built in 1900, would be demolished to make room for the apartment building. Photo by Zac Farber