The developer of Linden Crossing met with city officials last week to propose an additional story on the condo project awaiting construction at 43rd & Upton.
The fourth story would take the building height to 56 feet and would provide space for four units and rooftop decks, with the structure stepped back 12 or more feet from all edges of the building.
“To people who opposed five stories [proposed in 2012], that building is nearly twice the size of what this will be, even with the added units on the roof,” said developer Mark Dwyer. “We view this as a compromise.”
The project’s unit count would increase from 18 to 20 with units priced from $600,000-$1.5 million.
“This is something we would have asked for, had the moratorium allowed for it,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer’s original Linden Corner project prompted a yearlong moratorium on development so the neighborhood could develop a small area plan to guide future projects.
The resulting Linden Hills plan recommends three- or four-story building heights at 43rd & Upton, noting that shorter heights are considered most respectful of the existing character. The neighborhood drafted a plan with 44-foot height limits, but city officials removed the numerical limit, raising questions about the guideline’s enforceability and the city’s goals to grow its population.
Grant Hawthorne of Linden Hills said he’s concerned that city officials could now “arbitrarily rezone downtown Linden Hills at will” if they grant approval to the revised design, despite the outcome of public debate on Linden Corner and despite the original draft of the small area plan with three-story height limits.* He pointed to a December email from Mayor Betsy Hodges that said any rezoning of Linden Hills’ commercial areas should include public hearings and careful study.
Dwyer showed before-and-after renderings illustrating the recent change to the Planning Commission Committee of the Whole on June 26.
“What you see on top ostensibly is the only difference,” Dwyer said.
“My sense is this is a fairly subtle change,” said Commissioner Matthew Brown.
The project goes before the Planning Commission on July 14, with a request for a conditional use permit to allow the additional story.
*This story has been changed to note that Linden Hills’ original draft of the small area plan called for height limits around three stories.