Developer proposes more apartments at Franklin & Lyndale

Rendering by DJR Architecture

There is another new development proposal in the pipeline at Franklin & Lyndale, this time next to Mortimer’s Bar at the southeast corner of the intersection.

CPM Development proposes to build a six-story apartment building, leaving part of Mortimer’s Bar and a house on the lot intact. The developer would demolish the southernmost portion of Mortimer’s, Gringo’s Cantina, to build on the surface parking lot at 615 W. Franklin and 2005-2017 Lyndale Ave. S.

The project would include 75 apartment units, a rooftop deck, and common amenity spaces fronting Lyndale. Parking for 28 cars would stand enclosed on the ground floor, according to the architect, with an additional eight outdoor spaces. Vehicles would access the parking garage from the alley.

Apartments would range from about 360-680 square feet, according to the initial planning documents.

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“The unit mix for the project consists entirely of smaller one bedroom units and studios with the goal of providing less expensive rents to allow individuals to afford their own apartments,” states project information submitted to the city.

The Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole will discuss the preliminary concept Jan. 12.

At a recent Whittier Alliance community meeting, some residents audibly groaned at the news of small studio apartments. Who would want to live there?, asked one woman in response to the square footage.

“It’s not a family site,” CPM co-founder Dan Oberpriller said in reply, later clarifying that while they rent to families, the project would include only studio and one-bedroom apartments.

He said CPM is trying to provide new housing built without government subsidy that is affordable, given the current cost of land and construction. Larger units aren’t moving quickly at another CPM development at 26th & Stevens, he said. He said they’re planning large windows and rooftop amenities to counterbalance the small apartments, and said they’re not including balconies to keep rents down.

“People that can afford $1500-$1700 rent is shrinking, in my opinion,” Oberpriller said.

Whittier board member Marie Listopad said she thinks the developer is “generous” to build small units that rent for less.

“I pay $900 for a crappy one-bedroom. If I could pay $900 for a quality one-bedroom, I’d be much happier,” she said.

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Some residents questioned the traffic impact.

“The Wedge [Co-op] already stops traffic,” said one woman.

Other residents countered that the building would largely attract renters who bike and take public transit.

“I believe that’s the direction the world is going. Less stuff, and not wanting cars,” Kevin Beaudin said.

The city would not require any parking in the new development, due to its proximity to high-frequency mass transit.

Resident Jesse Oyervides recommended adding balconies to provide more eyes on the street to deter crime.

Residents also noted the area’s chronic flooding, and suggested taking action to handle stormwater.

The current design features silver or gray metal panels, with natural-toned materials at the base.

City officials approved plans last fall for the six-story Theatre Garage Apartments across the street at the southwest corner of the intersection.

Oberpriller said he’s had his eye on the Mortimer’s property for more than a decade, and he expects all corners of the intersection to eventually be redeveloped.

“It’s one of the top four busiest intersections in the city. It’s just kind of an exciting corner,” he said.