Credit: Episcopal Homes

Credit: Episcopal Homes

Episcopal Homes plans senior housing in Loring Park

Updated: March 3, 2015 - 10:22 am

Episcopal Homes of Minnesota plans to build a senior housing development in Loring Park in place of an Episcopal Church office building.

The St. Paul-based nonprofit developer, which specializes in senior housing, wants to alleviate a shortage of parking for the nearby Episcopal Church of Minnesota and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral through an apartment complex at 1730 Clifton Place. The project, dubbed the Episcopal Campus, calls for demolishing the office building and constructing a four-story, 58-unit senior housing complex, which would house 10,000 square feet of church office space and a 1,200-square-foot retail space. 

Marvin Plakut, president and CEO of Episcopal Homes, said the impetus for the project was the cathedral’s challenge with too little parking, but has expanded to updating the church’s outdated office space and providing senior housing. The project would include two levels of underground parking with 175 spaces, including about 60 for residents, who would be independent living seniors who are 62 years old or older.

Plakut said senior housing makes sense for society’s changing demographics and there is “ample” demand. Other new senior housing developments have sprout up in the city, including Mill City Quarter and the Ceresota Mill building in the Mill District. 

Plans for the $21 million project have been in the works for about 12 years, he said, but the developer recently rejuvenated work on the complex. He said $6.1 million would come from a private raised equity campaign. About half has already been raised.  

The developer had planned on six stories, but reduced the number of floors after talks with neighborhood groups and residents, who have historically been sensitive to the height of new developments. “We can make the numbers work at four stories. We cannot make them work at anything less than four,” he said. 

The 65-year-old office building owned by the Episcopal Church would be demolished and offices for the bishop, missioners and church affiliates would move into the development’s ground floor. The complex would be located between St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. Plakut said they hope to have a small grocer in the rest of the first floor retail space. 

“I’m particularly excited to cultivate an energetic, creative, multi-generational community in the Loring Park neighborhood — both benefitting from the beauty and resurgence of the neighborhood and also bringing our own gifts and passions to bear on the life we share here,” said Rev. Paul Lebens-Englund, dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral, in a statement.

The nonprofit expects to break ground in a year and housing to open in early 2017.