Credit: Lennar Multifamily

Credit: Lennar Multifamily

Neighborhood finally backs a Superior Plating development

Updated: January 26, 2015 - 10:46 am

The high-profile Superior Plating site just got a step closer to a tower development.

The Nicollet Island East Bank Neighborhood Association’s Fifth Superior Plating Task Group approved a resolution Wednesday supporting Lennar Multifamily’s 18-story, 253-unit tower and plaza plans for the corner of First and University.

Lennar presented its designs to the neighborhood association Wednesday, which showed the concepts for the first phase of a potential two-phase development at 315 First Ave. NE. Peter Chmielewski, Lennar senior development manager, told residents that construction could begin this fall with a completion date in fall 2017.

Concepts show an 18-story, 181-unit glass residential high-rise with two penthouse levels, a floor with a lobby and amenities, and two floors of parking, both above ground and underground. Lennar is planning for 344 parking units split between 244 for residential and 100 for retail. 

A wrap-around plaza area includes a five-story, 72-unit low-rise residential corridor, a nearly 5,000-square-foot restaurant and more than 17,000 square feet of street-level retail space on the corner of First and University. These residences would include several townhomes with private entrances and townhome-like apartments, Chmielewski said.

A central amenity terrace west of the tower would include a pool, hot tub and an outdoor dining area. Other proposed residential amenities include bike storage and repair, a room for dog washing, a 2,600-square-foot space for clubrooms and a nearly 1,800-square-foot fitness center. 

To beautify the back section of the development, a green roof with several plant types would cover the parking. Aaron Roseth, principal of ESG Architects, told residents that they hope to put a green screen on the back side of this parking section as well. 

Roseth said the front section of the tower would include a nearly 25-foot-wide pedestrian space between the entrance and the street, tapering southwest down First in front of the retail space. For example, if there was a coffee shop in the space, he said, there would be space for sidewalk seating. Near the tower entrance, a lattice design feature would beautify the area coming off the amenity terrace. 

A one-way ramp coming off University Avenue would serve as a service corridor. A woonerf, a curbless, European-style, multi-modal public plaza, would extend Fourth Street NE for residential or retail space, along with temporary or delivery parking, Chmielewski said.  

Lennar extended a purchase agreement it had for the Phase One site until early February. 

Chmielewski said Lennar would also act as the landlord of the residences, which would be completely rental. He said they could return to the neighborhood in a year from now to pursue a second phase–likely another tower development, as shown in earlier renderings–but Lennar is currently focusing on the first phase. Concepts show the second phase isn’t currently in contract. 

Chmielewski said the site’s owners, who have worked to clean years of pollution, recently received a certificate of completion from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. However, remediation on the site will continue, he said.

NIEBNA’s task group, in its fifth iteration, has passed over several development plans for the high-profile site over the years.

NIEBNA President Victor Grambsch, along with many task group members and residents, praised–even applauded–Lennar’s plans at the meeting. 

Third Ward Council Member Jacob Frey, in attendance, told residents that the design concepts are “extraordinary.” He also praised NIEBNA for holding off on previous plans to work with developers to design something for the high-profile site.

“You’re one of very few neighborhoods… that would applaud a developer,” Frey said. “You’re one of very few neighborhoods… that are not just accepting density, but advocating for it. And what we’re finding now is that when you advocate for density and you don’t try to just stop the ball altogether, you get something really, really nice.”



Included in Lennar’s concepts, this map shows the two phases of the Superior Plating development.