Apartments, retail planned at ill-fated Uptown restaurant site

A preliminary site plan for a former restaurant site on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown calls for about 150 units, retail space and underground parking. submitted image

A Chicago-based developer plans to convert an ill-fated restaurant site adjacent to the Uptown Transit Station into a seven-story apartment building with retail space. 

Trilogy Real Estate Group is redeveloping the land at 2841 Hennepin Ave. that has been host to a horde of restaurants over the years, most recently Piggy Bank, which closed in November. The developer has partnered with Minneapolis architecture firm ESG to design the building. 

The project is still in early design phases, Trilogy representative Bryan Farquhar, told a Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) committee during a Zoom meeting May 13. The building site plan will likely go before the Minneapolis Planning Commission in August. 

The early design calls for a seven-story, 86-foot-tall building totaling 192,000 square feet with about 2,200 square feet of retail space on Hennepin Avenue, ESQ architect Burt Coffin said. The plan is to have about 150 residential units and 105 underground parking stalls.  Coffin, a Wedge resident, said they hope to create a U-shaped terrace facing the Midtown Greenway and create a public promenade connection to the bike and pedestrian path.

The new development will remove the existing curb cut on Hennepin Avenue and add walk-up units along the Midtown Greenway and Girard Avenue. 

“This will really greatly improve the pedestrian experience on Hennepin Avenue,” Coffin said. 

Trilogy, which owns properties across the Midwest, is making its first foray into the Minneapolis market since 2011. Farquhar said the firm is a long-term owner that hopes to form “long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships” within the neighborhoods it builds in. 

The LHENA zoning and planning committee is collecting feedback online for the project that the neighborhood group will submit to the developers.

The location in the heart of Uptown had been rough for restaurants in the past decade. Since Old Chicago closed at the location in 2012, no restaurant lasted much longer than a year. In 2014, it was Boneyard . In 2015, it became a second location for Salsa a la Salsa. By October of 2016, it was GAME, an LGBTQ sports bar. Loring Park Vietnamese favorite Lotus came into the building in 2017 and closed about 18 months later before the space was taken by Piggy Bank, which was in business less than a year.