CITY HALL UPDATE // Stevens Square group honored

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August 15, 2011
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
Aug. 23 will be Stevens Square Community Organization’s Block Patrol day in the city of Minneapolis.

City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren (6th Ward) honored members of the block patrol at the Council’s Aug. 5 meeting. The group, among the oldest neighborhood block patrols in the city, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.

The group formed in 1991 to combat rising crime in the neighborhood, including drug dealing and prostitution.

Members of the group wear yellow vests and patrol the streets nearly every day. The volunteers have worked more than 20,000 hours to fight crime in Stevens Square, Lilligren said.

City Council gives green light to 401 Oak Grove project

The City Council has voted to allow developer Brad Hoyt to move ahead with his seven-story, 124-unit apartment project at 401 Oak Grove in Loring Park.

The Council approved his appeal of a Minneapolis Planning Commission decision that rejected his proposed development. Opponents of the project, including members of the neighborhood group Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC), have raised concerns about the size and scale of the building in relation to neighboring buildings and its proximity to Loring Pond.

City Council Member Gary Schiff (9th Ward) spoke in favor of the plan at the Council’s Aug. 5 meeting, arguing it fits with the character of the neighborhood, which is home to many large apartments buildings.

Meanwhile, City Council Member Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) voted against the project and took issue with its height and potential impact on view corridors and the character of the area.

Hoyt’s latest plan for 401 Oak Grove comes on the heels of a long legal battle with the city over two other plans for the site that called for condos. The first plan was for a 21-story condo tower called Parc Centrale. After that plan was rejected, he proposed a smaller condo project. That was shelved when City Council Member Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) proposed a moratorium on construction in the area.

The moratorium prompted Hoyt to sue the city. A judge determined that Goodman had been unfairly biased against the Parc Centrale project.

Goodman abstained from voting on Hoyt’s latest apartment proposal at the Aug. 5 City Council meeting.

Traci Thomas, executive vice president of Wayzata-based Continental Property Group, said the development group plans to move ahead with construction on the apartment project as soon as possible.

Price points and the name of the development have yet to be finalized, she said.

The apartment project comes as the Downtown rental market is very tight. The rental vacancy rate is around 1 percent.

Update on I-35W Transit/Access Project

There will be an open house for people interested in learning more about the I-35W Transit/Access Project for Lake Street on Aug. 17, 5–7 p.m., at the Zuhrah Center, 2540 Park Ave. S.

There will be a presentation on plans for a proposed transit station and new connections from I-35W to Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway, among other corridors.

“There are many moving parts that define this project, which must work together,” said Jenifer Hager, the city’s manager of Transportation Planning and Programming. “We want to ensure that they satisfy local and regional transportation needs, provide access for all modes, as well as reinforce a sense of place for the community of neighborhoods and business districts along this corridor.”

Reach Sarah McKenzie at smckenzie@mnpubs.com.