Restaurant owner proposes apartment project at 51st & Ewing

The owner of Arezzo Ristorante is proposing a 14-unit “boutique” apartment building across the alley from the restaurant.

The three-story building would replace three rental homes that developer Adam Smith said he owns at 5048, 5052 and 5056 Ewing Avenue South. He said the units would range from about 750-1,500 square feet. The ground floor would hold 19 enclosed parking spaces.

Smith said he’s owned Arezzo for more than 16 years, through good years and challenging years. The apartment would be his first development, although he said his father made a career in homebuilding and Smith started the construction company Adson Homes with his brother years ago.

Smith said he thinks the brick and stucco apartment building would appeal to local empty-nesters that are downsizing and want to stay in Minneapolis. He’s planning laundry rooms (rather than laundry closets), hardwood floors and granite countertops.

“I think this is a great amenity for the area,” he said.

He estimates that rent would be $2.50 per square foot.

After meeting with city staff, Smith said he expects to seek medium density multifamily “R4” zoning on the site, which is currently zoned R1A, a single-family district.

Smith met with the Fulton Neighborhood Association board last week. In response to concerns about management of the site during construction, Smith highlighted his nearby restaurant.

“I have a vested interest in making sure there is parking because I have a business here,” he said. “I’m going to do my best.”

Pending city approval, the project would break ground in mid-2018.