CPM Development proposes to replace three residences on East Calhoun Parkway with a condominium development.
The five-story, 55-foot building would replace 3017, 3021 and 3025 E. Calhoun Pkwy.
CPM Principal Nick Walton said the building of 14-16 units would rise three stories at the lakefront, with a height that steps back at the fourth story and steps back again at the fifth story. Two- and three-bedroom unit sizes would range from about 2,000-3,500 square feet. Walton said smaller units would be priced just over $1 million and climb from there.
Each unit would have two dedicated parking stalls, and Walton said the project would include one level of underground parking located above the water table.
The groundwater impact was one of the first questions raised at an Oct. 17 neighborhood meeting. CPM previously developed the 1800 Lake apartments at Lake & Knox, where they discovered more groundwater than anticipated during construction. To prevent flooding the ramp, the developer pumped water into the chain of lakes for four years before landing on a solution to seal off the lowest parking level and settle litigation with the city.
Walton said CPM has done 14 developments since 1800 Lake and they haven’t had any more issues with water.
“The last thing I ever want to do is get involved in the water again,” he said. “…If the data is even questionable, I can tell you for sure we’re going to walk away from it.”
Arlene Fried, a longtime advocate for preserving low heights in the Shoreland Overlay District near the lakes, said she worries about the project’s precedent.
“It’s in the wrong place. It’s by the lake,” she said.
Steve Woldum said the decision could have broader impact in neighborhoods like Linden Hills.
“It’s the first on the lake like this,” he said.
“We are not Miami. This is a small lake,” said Mary Sabatke.
In response, Walton said the project would neighbor multifamily buildings on either side.
“In my opinion, I think the three houses here are the odd three out,” he said. “It makes sense to put a condo building here.”
He said this isn’t a case of “greedy developers” trying to build as tall as possible. CPM is aiming to be respectful by stepping back the building’s upper floors, he said, and another developer might consider a height up to seven stories. Basir Tareen, a partner in the project who lives in one of the site’s homes, said he’s been approached by multiple developers interested in buying the land.
“I will show you the math,” Walton said. “…Without this height, there’s no project.”
Resident David Tompkins said he doesn’t think economics is a compelling reason to build high. He said he moved to Knox Avenue for the neighborhood feel, and he asked the developer to consider scaling down the project. He said the proposal goes against the Uptown Small Area Plan’s guideline of building only three stories in the area.
“This is on the parkway, it’s not on one of the transit corridors,” he said.
Jennifer Walter would live across the alley from the development, and said her concerns include light pollution and traffic safety, as young children currently run in the alley.
Tareen said he thinks the $1 million starting price will lead to light traffic.
“For a lot of these people it will be second and third homes,” he said. “It doesn’t mean there’s 30 people coming in and out every day.”
A resident of the Edgewater said that’s the case in his building.
“In winter, it’s pretty much a ghost town,” he said. “Generally people do have multiple homes and traffic is pretty limited.”
One meeting attendee said residents should focus on suggesting building materials or increased setbacks, as opposed to simply saying “No.”
“My thought is this project has pretty good legs, given what’s on either side of those three homes,” he said. “…It’s hard to argue they’re not respecting the scale.”
The nearby Edgewater development at 1805 W. Lake St. stands six stories, 82 feet tall.
Walton said he thinks there is a void in the market for luxury condominiums. He said several buyers were interested in a 3,000-square-foot condo in another recently completed CPM development at 1710 W. Lake St., where the penthouse was listed for $2.6 million and has a sale pending. He said a three-unit condo project on Sheridan Avenue in Linden Hills also sold quickly.
The proposal would require city approval to build above 35 feet in the Shoreland Overlay District and rezone the sites from the current R2B and R3 to the denser R4 district.
The existing houses on the site were built in 1902, 1998 and 1904, according to Minneapolis property records, and they have been eyed for redevelopment for at least a decade. Walton said the homes are under contract for purchase.