City staff recommends selling Nicollet Avenue site to townhouse developer

City staff is recommending the sale of 3329 Nicollet Ave. for the pictured development by Pocket Properties. Image by William Wells, Architect

A Council committee voted Jan. 31 to sell a city-owned vacant lot at 3329 Nicollet Ave. to Pocket Properties LLC for the development of 12 residences.

Pocket Properties is one of two developers seeking to buy the site. Developer Randy Hobbs proposed a 34-unit, 4.5-story apartment building, while Pocket Properties proposed a mix of 12 apartments and townhomes spread between two three-story buildings.

In recommending Pocket Properties’ proposal, city staff said the plan was more complete and financially feasible. The plan doesn’t require the city to rezone for more density, while Hobbs’ plan would require upzoning to R-5 from R-4.

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Shared driveway in Pocket Properties proposal. Image by William Wells, Architect

“It fits well with the scale of the existing architecture of the block and offers its own off street parking. The development team is more experienced and the project timeline is more complete,” states a city staff report. “…The neighborhood reviewed both proposals and favors the lower density and larger family rental units as proposed by Pocket Properties, LLC.”

The city of Minneapolis acquired the foreclosed site in 2012 and demolished a vacant triplex.

The Pocket Properties project would feature ground-floor workshop spaces with glass doors facing a central courtyard. The insulated workshop spaces could be used as garages or live/work studios. The three-bedroom, three-bath townhouses would rent for an average of $2,300 per month, and the studio and one-bedroom apartments would average $1,200 per month.

View of Pocket Properties' proposed plaza and sculpture garden.
View of Pocket Properties’ proposed plaza and sculpture garden. Image by William Wells, Architect

Pocket Properties would purchase the land for $56,200 to build a $2.4 million project, and has secured a commitment for construction loan financing.

Randy Hobbs, pictured with an apartment proposal for 3329 Nicollet Ave. File photo
Randy Hobbs, pictured with his apartment proposal for 3329 Nicollet Ave. File photo

Hobbs would build an $8.6 million project, and secured a bank’s letter of interest. Most of the project would consist of one-bedroom units with rents up to $1,200 per month, with a handful of two-bedroom units up to $1,400 per month.

Lyndale residents heard the development pitches in July, and voted 20-11 in favor of the Pocket Properties proposal.