Credit: Cuningham Group, submitted to the City of Minneapolis

Credit: Cuningham Group, submitted to the City of Minneapolis

Mortenson releases images of 28-story high-rise in Northeast

Updated: August 21, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Yet another high-rise plan has surfaced for Northeast Minneapolis.

Mortenson has released concepts of a proposed 28-story tower development planned for the Northeast riverfront area. It’s one of many high-profile tower projects slated for the neighborhood just across the river from downtown Minneapolis.

The Golden Valley-based developer is planning a mixed-use project at 333 E. Hennepin Ave. with a 22-story tower on top of a six-story base with 260 units of market-rate apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space. Mortenson has been working with the Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association on the plans since May. 

The projects’ 260 apartments would be approximately split up between 26 studios, 105 one-bedrooms units, 26 one-bedroom units with dens, 79 two-bedrooms units and 26 three-bedroom units, said a spokesman with design firm Cuningham Group.

The development would have 243 parking stalls for residential use, according to the plans. The project includes demolishing the current U.S. Bank building, but another bank building would be built on the 1st Avenue Northeast side of the parcel. The retail portion of the project would utilize an additional 17 spaces.

The ground floor would also have a residential lobby, amenity space and café seating, along with the commercial portion fronting Hennepin Avenue East. Jeffrey Schoeneck, a principal with Cuningham Group, said the developer hasn’t disclosed what type of tenant it would like to see.

Along the base, exposed portions of the parking structure would be screened with a “community-driven” art wall with the rest of the parking blocked by three floors of residential units on 4th Street Northeast. There would also be an indoor amenity space and a deck on the seventh floor.

Concepts show several unique glazed window bands and window patterns, which the developer describes as “a playful expression of punched windows in a field of galvanic greys” in the style of the “movement of the nearby river and iconic feel of a grain elevator.”

Mortenson’s project would be just northeast of Surdyk’s. West Photo, a long-time Northeast Minneapolis business, is also on the block. Neither of the businesses are included in development plans. 

The smaller tenant, a Papa John’s restaurant, in the current U.S. Bank location plans to relocate in the area, according to the plans. The site is also home to a large surface parking lot and drive-through facility for the bank. 

Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3) lives right across the street and welcomes a development that would replace the current building. He said it’s “abysmal.”

“The present building… is horrible for the pedestrian, it has minimal transparent surfaces, adds zero activity on the street and needs a serious facelift,” he said.

U.S. Bank intends to sever the link between the development and its new bank building by subdividing the parcels, according to a neighborhood task group. 

The developer submitted the preliminary concepts for feedback from the Minneapolis City Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole during its Aug. 20 meeting. 

Neighborhood moves project forward

A neighborhood task group with NIEBNA unanimously voted to recommend the project to the full board, which is expected to take it up in late September. The task group noted the project’s density, the art wall as a pedestrian amenity and the activation of the street, which relate to NIEBNA’s plan for the neighborhood.

“I think this complies very well with the small area plan,” said Victor Grambsch, NIEBNA president and task group leader.

The developer has met with the neighborhood twice before releasing concepts. Previously, Grambsch told The Journal that Mortenson was considering a 20- to 30-story mixed-use high-rise on the site of a U.S. Bank.

A developing area

Mortenson’s high-rise is just one many of towers slated for the area.

Just across the block, Lennar Multifamily is planning an approximately 21-story high-rise with 278 units and 22,000 square feet of commercial space, according to plans submitted earlier this summer. The developer bought the 5.45-acre site for $13.74 million in June. Construction on the development, the first of a potential two-phase on the high-profile site, could begin as early as this fall with a completion date planned for fall 2017.

Minneapolis-based developer Alatus closed on the $2 million purchase of land now home to Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel and the St. Anthony Athletic Club at the corner of Central Avenue and 2nd Street Southeast. While formal plans haven’t surfaced this year, the developer previously said it’s looking to build a tower of up to 40 stories with apartments or condos.

North Loop-based Schafer Richardson is back to the drawing board after local groups, including local residential communities, a committee from Our Lady of Lourdes Church and Preserve Minneapolis, opposed preliminary plans. Those concepts called for a 30-story tower with 189 units that would preserve two historic Nye’s Polonaise Room buildings. NIEBNA has tabled it support for the tower until the developer returns with updated plans.

Maureen Michalski, a senior project manager with the project, said if plans move forward, the earliest they’d begin construction would be next spring, up from February in a previous timeline. “Now we’re still in the stage at looking at the planning concept and site concept and looking at what works,” she said.