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Oppidan considers townhomes or five-story apartment building

Posted on 28 October 2018 by calvin

In the second option, a five-story building with 96 units of workforce housing would be built. It would include a parking garage with 55 cars and a surface lot with space for 41 cars next to the existing parking lot for the Lowa46 building. (Graphic submitted)

Community feedback on Cub site options will be solicited at Nov. 1 meeting

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Oppidan is considering a low-density and a high-density approach to the south end of the property that will soon house a Cub and a five-story apartment building with 148 units.

Drew Johnson of Oppidan asked for feedback on the two options during the Oct. 2 Neighborhood Development and Transportation (NDTC) meeting.

The proposal will also be discussed during a community meeting on Nov. 1, 6-7:30pm, at the Hiawatha School Recreation Center, 4305 E. 42nd St.

Lowa46, the five-story structure on the north end of the lot along 46th St. and Snelling, will be complete in 2019. Cub Foods is expected to open in April or May, and the apartment complex in June or July.

Phase two of the project involves the two-acre triangular shaped area on the south side, between the old Bridgeman’s and Dairy Queen.

Photo right: Drew Johnson of Oppidan shares two options for development on the south side of the Cub parcel with Neighborhood Development Transportation Committee members during the Oct. 2 meeting. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

This parcel was part of a 12-acre area identified as a Town Center site in a 2002 study based on neighborhood input. This plan provided the framework for Oppidan’s vision for high-density use at the site. The plan called for 450 units of housing clustered around the light rail station and 95,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, pointed out Johnson. In 2013, the study was updated, and a goal set to expand diverse multi-family housing options near the light rail station.

“We’re taking our framework from these documents, but we want to get feedback,” stated Johnson.

Two options
In the low-density option, Oppidan proposes the construction of eight townhomes in a row along the Min Hi Line. The front doors and parking would face west (towards the six-story apartment building that has been proposed by Reuter Walter on the old Bridgeman’s site).

However, the planning documents seem to support a denser plan, observed Johnson.

In the second option, a five-story building with 96 units of workforce housing would be built. It would include a parking garage with 55 cars and a surface lot with space for 41 cars next to the existing parking lot for the Lowa46 building. Access will be from the south along Nawadaha or north from 46th and the Snelling Ave. extension.

The new building would offer 580-square-feet studios (15 total), 750-square-feet one-bedroom apartments (37 total), 950-square-feet two-bedroom units (22 total), and 1,000-square-feet two-bedroom units (22 total).

While the Lowa46 building on the north side will be market rate with rent prices at about $2 a square foot or $1,800 for a one bedroom, Oppidan is proposing that the building on the south be workforce housing with rent prices at about $1.30 a square foot or $900 for a one-bedroom. This would be possible through the use of low-income housing credits, a national program that the state administers, said Johnson.

One of the major factors that will determine whether the high-density option is even possible is whether the large Xcel transmission tower is moved, observed Johnson. Oppidan would apply for a Met Council grant to help with the “extraordinary costs of moving the tower.”

Is community input valued?
Some have questioned whether Oppidan really factors in community feedback, as it didn’t seem to affect the grocery store chosen at the site.

According to Johnson, Hyvee was interested in the site but wanted the amount of parking you’d find in a suburban neighborhood. They said they’d come if the parking lot size was doubled, and the city wouldn’t agree to that. On the other hand, Cub was willing to work within the regulations at the site.

Also, for every person that suggested another option such as Aldi’s or Trader Joe’s, there were people saying, “I love Cub,” said Johnson.

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