Development update: MCTC renovation

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September 14, 2009 // UPDATED 9:58 am - September 14, 2009
By: Amanda Kushner
Amanda Kushner
MCTC renovation increases accessibility, sustainability

Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC) is transforming their outdoor plaza.

The renovation will increase accessibility. Existing conditions of the plaza have quite a few steps and a considerable amount of concrete, which will be eliminated, said MCTC President Phil Davis. It will be an easy grade to move from Loring Park to the college. Construction has started on the project.

The plaza renovation is a sustainable project and a green roof will be installed to help with storm water runoff. This will ensure that there is a permeable surface, so water can seep into the ground slowly, Davis said. Also rain gardens will help filter water instead of running into streets and the sewer system, he said.

The project is divided into two phases. Phase I includes removing the concrete surfaces, waterproofing around the buildings, installing sidewalks and re-grading the plaza. This will be completed in mid-December. Phase II will be completed in the spring and will include adding plantings. Phase II will be discussed at the Citizens for Loring Park Land Use Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The Minnesota Legislature allocated $2.1 million for the renovation.

“It is a huge opportunity to create a place not only for students and employees of the college, but a place for people who use Loring Park and this part of our city that feels welcoming,” Davis said, adding that the plaza will be a “natural environment where [students] can sit and enjoy the outdoors,” among other things.

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Apartments proposed for 800 3rd St. N.

Developer Schafer Richardson wants to turn the existing industrial building at 800 3rd St. N. into a 188-unit apartment building, said developer Maureen Michalski.

The developer is attending meetings with neighbors immediately around the area and hopes the project goes before the North Loop Planning and Zoning board Oct. 21, said Michalski. After that a land use application would be put in late October or early November with the city of Minneapolis. She said she hopes for a construction start early next summer. The project is expected to take 14 months to complete.

 “Overall the development fits with the master plan for the neighborhood in terms of what city staff is doing with the land use plan updates. So the density and type of building fits with what the city and the neighborhood is looking at for that area,” Michalski said.

Michalski attended the North Loop planning and zoning meeting on Sept. 17, 2008, and presented preliminary plans, said Karen Lee Rosar, planning and zoning chair for the North Loop Neighborhood Association.

Rosar said she does not expect the development to be controversial, and she said she thinks any positive development is a good thing.

“Hopefully the capital markets have loosened up, and we can see development moving back into the area. We are never oversaturated with supply downtown,” she said.

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Apartments could rise next to Tower Lofts

On Aug. 31, Tower Lofts homeowners met and were presented with plans and elevations of a proposed six-story apartment complex at 701 2nd St. N.

“Tower Loft homeowners were concerned about size and height and how it relates or does not relate to the adjacent structures. They are proposing a six-story structure versus what is currently allowable for story limits,” said homeowner Jacquelyn Tofte.

Tofte said that homeowners were surprised at how far along Sand Companies is in the planning process.

“As the neighbors directly impacted by this project many voiced concern as to whether their needs would be taken seriously,” she said.

Homeowners met Sept. 9 to discuss the developer’s processes and how homeowners can participate in that process, Tofte said.

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Plans for new dog park scuttled

A site near the Star Tribune’s printing plant considered for a dog park has been ruled out for now.

“We were not able to reach agreement with the Star Tribune for any extra land, so right now a dog play area is not possible, but we have hopes that they might reconsider our requests when they come out of bankruptcy,” said developer Steve Minn.

Leasing was put on hold pending city approval, but now that the site is approved Minn said the next steps are to wait for the environmental information, work through changes the planning commission made and then work on leasing.

The lot at 129 Plymouth Ave. N. is also undergoing environmental testing.

“We suspect there is some additional lead and might be other pollutants on the site beyond what was cleaned up by MNDot, and we are currently going through those lab tests,” Minn said.