New apartments near the University of Minnesota will use both historic buildings and new development to bring more housing to the area.
Plans for a six-story residential building on the edge of Marcy-Holmes and Northeast Minneapolis were approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission last month. The project, led by developers Bader Development and Nolan Properties Group along with Kaas Wilson Architects, is the second phase of plan to reuse historical buildings near the intersection of Central Avenue Northeast and 7th Street Southeast.
“It was a great opportunity to be a part of this community,” said Will O’Keefe, Bader’s development director. “[It’s] such a unique opportunity to have these buildings and to be able to work on a project that's so creative.”
The site’s buildings previously housed the McLeod & Smith, Inc. Headquarters, a furniture manufacturing company that operated through the early 20th century. The buildings, designated as historic by the National Register of Historic Places, were renovated as part of the project’s first phase.
Plans for phase two include a 71-unit building, which would be built on top of an underground parking garage adjacent to the site’s buildings.
This new addition comes six years after the project was first proposed to the city in 2014. The historic designation process impacted the construction schedule, according to city documents.
“There were a fair number of restrictions and it was just things getting really complicated,” O’Keefe said. “So we made the decision at that point to wait on phase two.”
The development team met with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association’s land-use committee last month.
Chris Lautenschlager, executive director of the MHNA, said he thinks many residents want to see more pedestrian and transportation infrastructure to support development like the project on Central Avenue.
“They would want significant improvements … to make it safe for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross those already perilous streets,” he said. “That's a big push for them for any new development over there.”
The new development falls into an area of Marcy-Holmes considered “The Triangle,” which is bordered by Central Avenue Northeast, Hennepin Avenue East and Harrison Street Northeast. The neighborhood’s 2014 plan for the area includes promoting diversity of historic and non-historic buildings.
“That building, that site, that community appeals to a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds,” O’Keefe said.
Marcy-Holmes resident Sam Penders said he would like to see more than six stories for development along Central Avenue. He cited the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which allows for 30 stories at that location effective this year.
“It's going to be significantly shorter than will actually be allowed,” Penders said. “But I understand that they've been working on this since … a couple years before this plan actually passed. It's like finishing up what they had time for before.”
The project’s next step is to lock down financing on certain parts of the plan, O’Keefe said. Long-term dates for construction and opening have not yet been indicated.