Third building pitched in Whittier apartment project

92 market-rate units would be next to 222 affordable units along Lake Street

Proposed “campus” along Lake Street in Whittier
Lupe Development Partners has added plans for a third apartment building to its proposed “campus” along Lake Street in Whittier. The new market-rate building would rise next to two identical affordable apartments. Image courtesy of ESG Architecture & Design

A Northeast development company has pitched a third apartment building as part of a proposed housing “campus” two blocks east of Lake & Lyndale.

Lupe Development Partners has proposed a seven-story, 92-unit, market-rate building for the northeast corner of Lake & Garfield in Whittier.

The company envisions the building rising next to a pair of identical six-story, 111-unit affordable apartments it has in the works. One of those twin buildings is under construction at Lake & Harriet and is scheduled to open in fall 2020. The other, proposed in spring 2018, is under review by the city.

The 92-unit building would include first-floor retail space, a mix of one- and two-bedroom and efficiency units, and amenities such as in-unit laundry, bike storage, a dog run and a rooftop deck.

Monthly rents would be $2.50 per square foot with no income restrictions, according to Steve Minn, Lupe’s vice president and chief financial manager. He said that’s less than some of the apartment buildings near Bde Maka Ska and Downtown.

Whittier Apartment Campus

The affordable building under construction will be open to households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median, which is $100,000 for a family of four. The second affordable building would be open to households with incomes at or below 80% of the area average. Lupe will keep those buildings affordable for 30 years in exchange for tax-exempt financing and federal tax credits, Minn said.

The three buildings would be under shared management and would have approximately 150 parking spots and a car-sharing service, such as Hourcar. All three would be open to pets. The two affordable buildings wouldn’t have in-unit laundry but will otherwise have the same amenities as the 92-unit building, Minn said.

City staff have voiced concerns that the three buildings are too big for their lots, though the first affordable building was approved over these objections. Planning commissioners have said they wish the three buildings had more architectural variety.

Whittier’s neighborhood group, the Whittier Alliance, has not yet taken a position on either the second affordable building or the market-rate building, said Kaley Brown, the organization’s executive director. She said the organization would knock on the doors of people who live near the proposed projects to get their feedback.

Lupe has not yet filed the required land-use applications for the second affordable building or the market-rate building. The company’s general counsel, Brian Flakne, said it hopes to start construction on them around fall 2020 and have them ready for occupancy 18 months later.

Minn said his company likes LynLake because of its workforce and proximity to the Midtown Greenway and the future Lake Street bus rapid transit station.