Lander Group pitches apartments at 3535 Grand

A developer is proposing a three-story, 24-unit apartment building at 3535 Grand Ave. S.

Several developers have previously attempted to build on the vacant lot, and the new proposal comes from the Lander Group and Moeding Partners.

At least 15 feet of bad soils makes underground parking cost-prohibitive, said Pete Keely of Collage Architects, so they would provide surface parking at the back of the lot.

Keely said the project would be more affordable than other new construction on the greenway.

“We feel that the pricing on rentals has gotten way out of line,” he said. “Compared to what is new out there, we’re trying to be a good 10-15 percent below.”

All of the units would be one-bedroom or smaller.

The architect pointed to the Lander Group’s recent apartment project Parkway West at 46th & 46th as an example of the quality of construction residents could expect.

The developer and architect presented plans April 1 to the Lyndale neighborhood’s Housing, Planning and Development Committee.

Nearby resident Carole MeGarry said she has a hard time supporting the project unless the city improves the storm sewer and alley.

“Essentially you have a lake,” she said. “Are there any discussions about expanding the storm drain?”

“Our incentive is to try to find a way to fix that,” Keely said in response. “We’ve heard that this is a big issue.”

Keely said they haven’t landed on a solution yet, but ideas include pervious pavers.

Residents suggested a green roof to help absorb rainwater.

Bad soils led to the demise of previous projects, the developer said.

Three years ago, CPM Development secured city approval to build 30 units in four stories with underground parking, later pulling out when they said the project came in over-budget. Another aborted project under different management was proposed in 2006 with two five-unit structures.

Lyndale residents also discussed the parking ratio. The project would need city approval to provide 18 spaces instead of the city’s required 22.

Some in the Lyndale neighborhood said the area is already over-parked. Others said the ratio probably isn’t much different than traditional single-family homes, with one car in a garage and the other on the street.

Tran Muehler said he would prefer to see a community garden on the lot, and noted that he previously circulated a petition with most of the 250 signatories in support of a garden.

Some countered that a project is better than no project at all.

“Do we want this to continue to be an open blighted lot full of broken glass?” asked Lisa Lyons.

The property is under contract for purchase, pending city approval.                   

The developer expects to appear at the May 11 Planning Commission meeting.