Theater Garage proposal reduces height along Lyndale

Credit: Rendering by Collage Architects.

The developer of the Theater Garage project at Lyndale & Franklin has dropped plans for a sixth floor of residences along Lyndale and eliminated one level of parking (45 fewer spaces).

“The neighborhood process, although difficult, was helpful, and we’ve incorporated a majority of the suggestions,” said Master Properties Principal Don Gerberding.

The revised design stands six stories along Franklin and five along Lyndale, with a restaurant on the corner. The 161-stall parking garage at the rear of the site would have four stories. The number of apartments would now stand at 82, three fewer than previously planned.

The new design also moves the theater to ground level, instead of installing it below-grade, and drops plans for a rooftop public park.

The city has directed the developer to prepare a traffic study.

A prefinished metal panel appears white in renderings, but a final color has not been chosen.

The design of the west parking lot wall now features plantings and large cut-outs, in response to neighbors who said they wanted windows to break up the expanse of the wall.

“We’ve placed the walls in a way that should block headlights,” said Elizabeth Liebhard, Master project coordinator. “Plantings should help mitigate some of the sound issues.”

Neighbor Deanna Hagg said the proposed openings are much larger than they envisioned, however, and said she still has reservations about the bulk of the building.

“Unfortunately, the city has pegged this corner for density and I don’t think that anything we say or do will help our cause,” she said. “While the developer has made adjustments that will change my view from a brick wall to looking onto the top of the open parking garage, my neighbors one floor and two floors below me will still be looking directly at the wall. I feel badly for them.”

Gerberding said he will present his revised plans in July to the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association. He said feedback from the Planning Commission Committee of the Whole left him optimistic the project would be approved. 

“My perspective is I think we’ve only heard from a small group” of outspoken opponents to the previous proposal, he said. “I think there’s an underlying sentiment that supporters are less vocal.”

If the project is approved, Gerberding said breaking ground before the end of the year “would be the perfect scenario,” but it would depend on the weather and the city approval process.