Planning Commission advances 29 Bryant apartment project

Yellow Tree Development is planning a six-story, 91-unit apartment building for the 2900 block of Bryant Avenue. Rendering by DJR Architecture/Yellow Tree Development via City of Minneapolis

The Minneapolis City Planning Commission on Monday approved three applications for a proposed six-story, 91-unit apartment building on Bryant Avenue near Lake Street.

The commission approved a conditional-use permit to allow developer Yellow Tree to build taller than what would be allowed by right, given the site’s zoning district. The commission also approved the site plan and a variance to all0w for the building to have more square footage than would be allowed by right, given the site’s size.

The decisions will be final, pending a 10-day appeal period.

Yellow Tree plans to start construction on the project in the spring and expects it to be completed in spring 2020, according to its website. It says the project, which it calls 29 Bryant Apartments online, will include heated parking, a rooftop deck, a community garden and a fitness center.

The apartment building will replace three single-family homes that currently sit on the site, which is half a block north of Lake Street and half a block south of the Midtown Greenway. The building will contain 31 studio apartments, 24 “micro” one-bedroom apartments, 30 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom apartments, according to plans submitted to the Planning Commission. It will have 61 parking spaces on two levels of enclosed parking.

Units will range in size from 361 to 433 square feet for studios to over 900 square feet for two-bedroom units, according to the plans.

The project site, which includes three parcels, is zoned as a C2 Neighborhood Corridor Commercial District and also as a PO Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District. The maximum by-right allowable building height in the C2 zoning district is four stories or 56 feet, whichever is less.

The Planning Commission imposed several conditions with its approval of the site-plan application, including one that Yellow Tree must mitigate a 27-foot-long blank wall on the north side of the building. Commissioners also discussed requiring ground-floor commercial space, which city staff recommended, but did not vote to require it.

Zack Anderson, who works at the Eye of Horus metaphysical store south of the project site, expressed support for mitigating the blank walls during a public hearing before the vote, noting graffiti problems in the area. Anderson also said he’s scared construction noise will drive away business all summer, noting the pile driving he heard this past summer at his home, which is near the Sons of Norway project.

“We’re really, really scared that that’s what’s going to happen here,” he said, playing an audio clip of the pile driving on his phone. “…That’s going to kill that corner if we have to have that kind of construction noise all summer.”

In response, Yellow Tree co-founder Robb Lubenow said the company does site surveys of neighboring properties prior to any work being done. The company also does on-site monitoring while it’s doing any excavation or anything that has significant vibrations to it, he said.

Yellow Tree has developed The Whit apartment building at 2201 Blaisdell Ave. S. and The Central apartment building at 3501 Second Ave. S., just east of Interstate 35W. The company is also the developer behind two 120-plus-unit projects on Nicollet Avenue just south of Interstate 94, a 65-unit apartment building in Northeast Minneapolis and projects and a planned apartment building near a Blue Line light rail station in the Standish neighborhood.