City commission shrinks Reserve development

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May 21, 2002 // UPDATED 1:20 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Ellen Nigon
Ellen Nigon

North Loop neighbors enjoyed a victory last week when the Heritage Preservation Commission denied a certificate of appropriateness for a building that some neighbors say is too tall.

Chicago-based BEJCO Development Corp. proposes that the condominium complex The Reserve, 360 1st St. N., be ten stories high with several rooftop residences and mechanical rooms on an 11th story. The Reserve would be 128 feet tall from ground to the highest point. The Reserve falls in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, where buildings must be no taller than 84 feet.

While denying the certificate of appropriateness for an 11-story building, the HPC did allow The Reserve to be built at eight stories. The HPC has the power to regulate the building's height, though the developer can appeal to the City Council. BEJCO officials say they have all the necessary approvals.

North Loop Association board chair Jim Grabek testified at the meeting that "we want building, but we want the building and facilities to exist within the historic framework of the neighborhood."

According to an HPC staff report, developers have been trying to build The Reserve for 2 1/2 years, and for 2 1/2 years the HPC has been saying it's too tall. At one point, former Reserve developer David Nixon even proposed a 148-foot tall building, but with a grocery store -- something North Loopers have been clamoring for.

Said HPC Vice Chair Virginia Housum, "I've sat through four commission hearings where [the architect] presented different versions of this plan. Mostly what I remember is saying that this building is too tall."