Good Grocer’s new building may hold 80 apartment units

The Good Grocer design for 2644 Nicollet Ave. S. awaits city approval.

The Good Grocer wants to anchor a six-story apartment building at 2644 Nicollet Ave. S., a site previously used as a parking lot.

The building would house 80 dwelling units and a rooftop patio above the 8,500-square-foot grocery store. The site would hold 55 parking spaces in one level below ground and 25 spaces in a surface lot fronting 27th Street.

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The nonprofit Good Grocer, which works to expand access to fresh food by giving discounts to volunteers, left its former location at 122 E. Lake St. last winter to make way for I-35W construction.

“In order to make the apartments more accessible to everyone, residents will be offered an ongoing renters discount at Good Grocer,” founder Kurt Vickman said in a letter to the city. “It is our belief that this building will not only give the neighborhood better access to healthy, affordable food, but will also help meet the growing demand for housing.”

The residences would include one- and two-bedroom units, most of them 479 square feet.

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The project as proposed would require special city approval to increase the maximum building height, increase the parking lot’s street frontage, reduce landscaping, allow blank walls of more than 25 feet in width, allow fiber cement cladding in excess of 30 percent, and reduce the minimum ground-floor window requirement.

The site’s current zoning is C3A, a Community Activity Center District that allows four stories or 56 feet in height, and it’s part of a Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District, which emphasizes density and pedestrian-friendly design.

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The long-vacant site was home to more than a dozen immigrant-owned businesses until it was damaged by fire in 2004. The property later went into foreclosure. Most recently, it served as parking space for the Icehouse and Vertical Endeavors.

The Good Grocer will discuss the proposal with the Whittier Alliance neighborhood group in a meeting May 14 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at Whittier Park.

Pending city approval, the grocer expects to break ground this summer and finish construction in the summer of 2019.