Updated 26th & Lyndale project clears planning commission

The Rex 26 development at 26th & Lyndale would include 86 apartments and a grocery store on the first floor. Rendering by Master Properties

The Minneapolis City Planning Commission on July 17 approved amended plans for an apartment building and retail space at the southeast corner of 26th & Lyndale.

The five-floor building, known as Rex 26, would include 86 apartment units and a single retail space of 21,025 square feet. A grocery store would fill that space (renderings show an Aldi logo on the building).

The proposed development, known as Rex 26, would have studios and one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. A clubroom/skydeck would face east, and an outdoor community area would face Lyndale Avenue on the second floor. Exterior materials would include brick, metal, shingles, metal panels and metal siding.

The applicant, Master Properties Minnesota, LLC, proposed 176 parking spaces in two-and-a-half floors of underground parking. Fourteen of the spaces would be reserved for French Meadow, located across the street.

The Planning Commission approved plans for the development in December, but Master Properties made changes to the proposal. Those included:

— Changes to mechanical systems.

— Reducing the height of the first floor by three feet, to 20 feet from 23 feet.

— Adding a fifth floor, nine additional units and 9,267 square feet of gross floor area.

— Changing the traffic flow and ingress/egress of vehicles and trucks. Vehicles would enter and exit from Lyndale Avenue South, and trucks would enter the site from the alley and exit onto Lyndale Avenue South.

— Moving a residential elevator corridor to the interior of the building, which would eliminate a vertical blank wall along Lyndale Avenue.

— Changes to exterior materials and balcony configuration.

“These changes greatly improve the overall use of the site, provide a more efficient layout of the building and significantly improve traffic circulation in the area,” Master Properties Managing Partner Don Gerberding wrote in a May 8 letter to the city. “The number of truck deliveries, hours and days of operation are anticipated to be the same as previously proposed.”

The city received one public comment in regard to the latest proposal, from a longtime homeowner on Garfield Avenue. He was not in support of it.

Danny Schwartzman, owner of the adjacent Common Roots Cafe said he thinks the latest proposal is better than past versions. He’s happy to see large trees in front, for example, but has concerns about traffic flow.

Schwartzman said he doesn’t think the development matches the neighborhood’s character, which he called small-business focused.
“If they were thinking about matching community needs, it wouldn’t look like this,” he said.

Rex 26 would encompass six lots, two of which are vacant and four of which contain a single or two-family home. The houses would be demolished as a result of the project.

The Planning Commission would require all site improvements to be completed by July 17, 2019.