Six-level Kingfield apartment signals a denser Nicollet Avenue

A six-level apartment building on Nicollet Avenue near 43rd Street will be the first building above three stories in the area. Submitted image

A 46-unit, six-level apartment building has been approved at the edge of the 43rd & Nicollet commercial district anchored by Revival and the Lowbrow. 

It will be the first building above three stories to rise on a stretch of Nicollet Avenue earmarked for greater density by the 2040 plan, which designates Nicollet a high-frequency-transit corridor and allows building heights up to six stories down to 47th Street. 

“We are the first, but we definitely will not be the last,” said developer Michael Pink of Left Lane Corporation.

Chris DesRoches, the president of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association (KFNA), said the organization has a message for affordable housing developers: “[Kingfield] is begging for you to build projects here. We are ready to support and make it happen.”

Left Lane’s proposal calls for a building at 4220-30 Nicollet Ave. with 32 parking spaces accessed via two rear-alley ramps. Pink said about a third of the units will be affordable to families making between 65% and 75% of the area median income — roughly $65,000 to $75,000 for a family of four.

The building will include a mix of units: 450-square-foot studios, a pair of two-bedrooms with private rooftop decks and two ground-floor walk-ups with patios facing Nicollet. In all, there will be 11 studios, 22 one-bedrooms and 14 two-bedrooms. Shared office spaces are planned for both the first and second levels. All units will have bike parking.

A single-family home, a duplex and a small commercial building will be razed to make way for the new structure. The commercial building was last occupied by the 4Points Body Gallery tattoo shop and is topped by an apartment unit.

The new building’s facade will be primarily brick, stone and metal paneling, with wood accents. A grade change means it will appear as five stories from the rear. From the front, the first story will have high ceilings and include a mezzanine level, while the top story will be recessed from Nicollet. “We’re trying to get this to read as a four-story building,” Pink said. “You can’t really see the top from the street.”

At a June 23 Kingfield Neighborhood Association committee meeting, questions were raised about the removal of trees, the amount of parking and the height of the building. 

Pink said that while the city, which doesn’t have a parking minimum for the site, asked for less parking, “I pushed back and said, ‘I go to this corner, I know what it’s like, and we need as much parking as we can get.’”

He said building subterranean parking is “inordinately expensive and you have to pay for it somehow.” Part of the reason the building ended up six levels, he said, is because of the “economic puzzle of, how do you make all of this work?”

The Planning Commission approved the project on July 6 on the consent agenda. The site will be rezoned to OR2 office-residential space. The Planning Commission granted a conditional use permit to build to a height of 65 feet, setbacks on the south and Nicollet Avenue-facing sides of the building and a variance to allow patios for the walk-up units. 

Pink said he hopes to start construction in October and wrap up work by July 2021.