South Uptown’s appeal of E-shaped apartment is denied

The South Uptown neighborhood association unsuccessfully appealed the approval of this apartment building along Hennepin Avenue. Submitted image

A City Council committee has dismissed an appeal from the South Uptown Neighborhood Association attempting to stop construction of a 74-unit luxury apartment building at 35th & Hennepin. 

Neighbors say a steep grade differential means the rear of the E-shaped building approved June 16 by the Planning Commission will present a six-story-high “monolithic, intrusive wall” to the homes along Girard Avenue. 

And Council Member Lisa Goodman (Ward 7) agreed. She said the building could have been massed differently on the site and that “a six-story building adjacent to single-family homes” is inconsistent with the intent of the 2040 plan. 

But Goodman’s colleagues on the city’s Business, Inspections and Zoning Committee sided with the Planning Commission, voting first 4-2 and then 5-1 against the neighborhood organization; Council Member Kevin Reich (Ward 1) switched his vote once it was apparent the appeal would be denied. 

Council Member Steve Fletcher (Ward 3) said the building’s design, aimed at enriching pedestrian space along Hennepin with courtyards, offered “extensive” benefits.

“While we probably could have accommodated a little more of a stepdown [on the Girard side], at the end of the day that height would still be what happened and what was approvable,” he said.