Franklin & Lyndale proposal returns with underground parking

A new design for an apartment project at the southwest corner of Franklin & Lyndale.

Master Properties is back with a new six-story apartment proposal for Franklin & Lyndale, minus space for the Theatre Garage and with less visible parking.

The new plan is just under 69 feet, about 4.5 feet shorter than the prior proposal.

“We’ve put the majority of parking underground now, and it’s not visible to neighboring residents or the street,” said Project Manager Elizabeth Liebhard.

She said neighbors would now see a second-floor rooftop patio, accessible only to building residents.

Theatre Garage_3

A total of 149 parking spaces would be enclosed on the ground floor and in one level underground. Liebhard said the ground floor would stand about 22 feet tall, allowing architects to sneak in a mezzanine level of parking accessible from Franklin Avenue. A second two-way parking entry would be located mid-block on Lyndale.

The project footprint is currently home to Theatre Garage, Steeple People, Chi Tailor & Cleaner, David Petersen gallery and a surface parking lot.

A restaurant of 5,200 square feet would stand on the corner, with a 1,200-square-foot fitness or retail space on Lyndale. Minneapolis Theatre Garage is no longer part of the project, and Hosmer Brown said he doesn’t plan to relocate the theater.

Eight walkup units would front Lyndale, and the building would contain a total of 113 units, more than the 82 units previously proposed. Rent rates are anticipated to start at $1,200 for a 530-square-foot alcove unit and run up to $2,200 for a walkup unit of about 1,100 square feet with a private garage.

Theatre Garage_2

Proposed exterior materials include brick and metal panels.

In 2014, the developer told city officials that a geotechnical analysis deemed the soil non-compactable and unsuitable for underground parking. At a recent neighborhood meeting in The Wedge, however, developer Don Gerberding said they delved into the engineering issue and determined a geopier deep foundation system would allow one level of underground parking.

“It takes away the need to have a parking structure behind the building,” he said.

At an Aug. 10 meeting in The Wedge, the project met a warmer reception than in 2014. Resident Ethan Cherin said the neighborhood needs more density, and said he thinks the developer addressed local concerns by reducing the massing of the parking garage.

“I think it’s an improvement from the last time through,” he said.

Another meeting attendee asked if Steeple People could become part of the new building; Gerberding said it would not.

Sara Romanishan, a nearby resident and vocal critic of the previous proposal, called the new design “very different.”

“They did take into consideration a lot of feedback … which is really nice to see,” she said.

The city Planning Commission approved a prior version of the project in 2014 that included four levels of above-ground parking. Gerberding said the land deal fell through, and he’s back with a new development partnership that does not include the owners of Rudolphs. He said a purchase agreement is contingent on city approval.

The development will go before the Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole on Aug. 18, and the developer expects to submit a final proposal for approval in early September. Pending city approval, construction would begin in early spring 2017 and open for occupancy in May 2018.  The new design requires city approval for the following:

— Rezoning some of the site’s C1 zoning to match the denser C2 zoning on the corner

— A conditional use permit to increase the height from the automatically allowed four stories (56 feet) to six stories (69 feet)

— Reduce the west setback to 3.8 feet; reduce the south setback to 3.5 feet

— Reduce the minimum loading requirement from one space to zero

— Increase the maximum floor area ratio from 2.04 to 3.28