Tall tower or squat complex for Loring Park Episcopal site?

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October 4, 2004 // UPDATED 4:15 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC) has organized a task force to review a proposal for condos at the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, 1730 Clifton Place.

Local developer Dan Hunt, who has a purchase agreement on the property, has proposed two construction options: a more slender high-rise or a blockier six-story building.

Hunt and his architectural team, the East-Bank-based Cuningham Group, presented the options to the CLPC Land Use Committee Sept. 27. They plan to meet with the neighborhood task force until consensus is reached on one plan. How many units and how tall a tower may be built have not been determined.

"It's a landmark site for us, and we want to do something spectacular," Hunt said. "We think the tower option is a much better site plan."

Although he prefers the tower, Hunt told the neighborhood group he would not move forward with the proposal in the face of intense neighborhood opposition. The project comes on the heels of the city's rejection of Wayzata-based Continental Property Group's Parc Centrale, a proposed 21-story tower at 401 Oak Grove St. -- a parking lot northwest of the Episcopal Diocese headquarters.

The city Zoning Code's height guidelines for the area restrict buildings to 2.5 stories because they fall within 1,000 feet of Loring Pond. The City Council can make an exception to the guidelines, which they refused to do in Parc Centrale's case.

Mike Marn, a resident at 400 Groveland who organized a petition drive against Parc Centrale, said he was disappointed by Hunt's options for the Episcopal site.

He said both plans were too large for the land and out of context with older structures nearby, such as the 510 Groveland and the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave.

Hunt said he'd like to break ground on the project in June or July after obtaining city approvals for the project.

The developer has worked on several other residential projects near Downtown, including the North Loop's RiverStation condos, 645 N. 1st St.; Heritage Landing, 415 N. 1st St.; and the East Bank's Village of St. Anthony Falls -- a three-block, $100 million mixed-use development near the Hennepin Avenue East commercial district.