Project with most parking wins vote in Lyndale neighborhood

Developer Randy Hobbs presents an apartment proposal at a July 25 Lyndale neighborhood meeting.

Lyndale neighborhood residents heard two competing development concepts Monday for the city-0wned lot at 3329 Nicollet Ave., and voted 20-11 in favor of the pitch that provided the most parking.

The developers’ concepts ranged from eight-unit townhouses rising three stories with garages, to a four-story apartment building with at least 32 units and nine surface parking spaces.

“That block of Nicollet is pretty jammed for parking,” said Carol Greenwood, who owns rental property in the area. She said her vacant apartments are filled within a day.

“A lot of people are wanting to live here,” she said. “And they all have cars, and they all want a parking spot.”

Some residents disagreed, citing global warming and Minneapolis’ population growth.

“Minneapolis is outpacing suburbs for the first time in generations,” said Philip Schwartz. “I think it’s really important to build more housing for more people. What we’re losing when we gain more parking is housing affordability.”

The city’s population increased from 2010-2015 by nearly 30,000, according to the Metropolitan Council, bringing the total to 412,500, the highest it’s been since the 70s.

“Everybody has cars because we live in a car-dependent city,” said Josh Dibley. “If we continue to build a car-dependent city, we will continue to have car-dependent residents.”

Michael Nelson said given the bedroom counts (24 in the townhouses, or 30-plus for the apartments), the resulting density is fairly close in each project.

“You’re just hitting people at different phases of their life,” he said.

He said he liked the unique aspect of the live-work townhouse project.

Nine residents abstained from the July 25 vote.

The site went into foreclosure in 2011. The city currently owns the land, and staff requested neighborhood feedback on development proposals.

“This is a vote of preference on concept,” said Brad Bourn, executive director of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association. “Our vote will have some influence, but it will not be the final say.”

The following summarizes each proposal:

Pocket Properties townhouse proposal

3329 Nicollet 1
Designed by Wells & Company Architects

— Two buildings of three stories, with a shared central courtyard and a front yard sculpture garden. The courtyard would serve as a “woonerf” open to resident pedestrians, bikes and cars.

— Eight townhouses, each with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The unit size is intended to allow family growth.

— A ground-floor two-car garage for each unit could double as a studio.

— Rents are estimated under $2 per square foot. Developer Jeremy Edwards said he expects rents to be less expensive than market rates.

— Edwards owns a couple of smaller buildings in Minneapolis, according to the architect.

— The project would require city approval for a variance for smaller front- and side-yard setbacks.

Randy Hobbs apartment proposal

3329 Nicollet 2

— The unit count would be 32-34 in a four-story building.

— Hobbs is planning a communal laundry room as well as outdoor tables and benches. Following the meeting, Hobbs said he’s interested in providing space for residents on the roof.

— Pet-friendly with pet wash station; locally-designed cabinets

— Rents would be $900-$1,100 for a one-bedroom unit

— Nine surface parking spaces would be available. Hobbs said he is not opposed to providing parking, although the lot sits on a transit corridor and parking accommodation is not required.

— The project would request city approval for a zoning change from R4 to R5 to accommodate the size of the development.

— Exterior materials include brick and hardie board siding.

— Hobbs is currently opening a 78-unit apartment building in the North Loop, featuring bike storage and a bike repair shop.