City Council green lights North Loop condos, overturning Planning Commission rejections

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January 2, 2006 // UPDATED 2:03 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

A proposed condo conversion project on Washington Avenue in the North Loop cleared a key City Council committee after the Planning Commission rejected several elements of the proposal in November.

The developer, Downtown-based Swervo Development, has proposed a 53-unit condo development at 618 Washington Ave. N., a former warehouse known as the International Harvester Building.

The City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee approved rezoning the property to allow for a mixed-use project — residential and commercial. The committee also approved the developer’s application for a conditional-use permit and its site plan review.

The committee’s actions overturned the decision of the Minneapolis Planning Commission, which voted Nov. 14 to reject the developer’s site plan and rezoning request. The Commission did, however, approved the developer’s proposal to increase the height of the building to seven stories.

The Zoning and Planning Committee also voted to reject an appeal by the developers and residents at the Tower Lofts, a new loft development at 700 Washington Ave. N.

Tower Lofts’ developer Chuck Leer and a group of residents have objected to Swervo’s plans for the building because it would block Downtown views for units facing the 618 building.

Rooftop penthouses planned for the top of the International Harvester Building would also look onto the Tower Lofts’ rooftop deck.

Leer said he’s “disappointed” that the project is moving forward as planned and raised concerns that city officials failed to consider the impact on the building’s neighbors.

As proposed, the Swervo development would block 18 windows, he said.

The full Council approved the committee’s actions on Dec. 23.