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Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Mixed-use, multi-family projects are moving ahead

Posted on 12 May 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Development Roundup

By JANE MCCLURE

MISCO awarded city funding
A Midway company will benefit from a $49,500 forgivable Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) loan. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and redevelopment Authority, approved the loan to MISCO April 10.
Company leader Dan Digre told council members that the loan will assist with relocation to the new headquarters at 1771 Energy Park Drive. The company was founded 70 years ago by his father, Clifford, when the family lived in the Selby-Dale neighborhood. Dan Digre said it is fitting that the company is returning to its St. Paul roots.
MISCO designs, tests and manufactures loudspeakers and amplifiers. Its new headquarters facility will be the only speaker design, testing and manufacturing operation of its kind in North America.
MISCO has outgrown its location in Minneapolis and needs to locate somewhere with room to grow that is welcoming to their business and unique industrial needs. The loan will help with the purchase of furniture and equipment to support the transition. The company will bring 66 existing jobs here, and through their growth hire an additional 50 – 60 new employees over the next ten years.
No existing businesses will be displaced or relocated as a result of this project. The loan is forgivable if certain conditions are met.

Housing projects moving ahead
Multi-family and mixed-use projects near University Avenue keep moving ahead. Indiana-based Scannell Properties May 2 won St. Paul Planning Commission approval for its conditional use permit and floor area ratio variance allowing additional building height and density for a six-story mixed use development at 441-443 N. Snelling Ave. in April, Wellington Management’s the Pitch won approvals for additional height, a floor area ratio variance and relocated drive-through lanes for its six-story development at 427 N. Snelling Ave.
A third project, Raymond Station at 2250-2264 University Ave., was also granted a conditional use permit for additional height in April. The projects reflect a growing trend of mixed-use, market-rate housing planned on and near University.
The Pitch is to be built on the Bremer Bank site. The bank will relocate while its new home is built. It will also include 13,000 square feet of retail for a new Bremer Bank, and possibly a Walgreens.
Scannell is building on the former Furniture Barn site, and plans a restaurant on its first floor. Both buildings will have below-ground parking.
Both Snelling projects are in the traditional neighborhoods 3 zoning district, where a height of 55 feet is allowed. The conditional use permits allow each building’s height to top 70 feet. Raymond Station will reach a height of seven feet in one section. Its University and Hampden avenues; site is also zoned for traditional neighborhoods 3 use.
All told, the three developments will bring about 250 new housing units to the area,

Lexington site eyed again?
Mixed-use redevelopment is eyed for a long-vacant Lexington Parkway property. Minneapolis-based developer Alatus LLC and about a dozen neighbors met with the Union Park District Council (UPDC) Land Use Committee in April to discuss ideas for 411-417 N. Lexington Parkway. The potential developers would like to shape their plans over the next few months. No timeline for development has been set.
Alatus has 15 years’ development experience, mostly in the Twin Cities. Its recent projects range from market-rate to affordable housing, including apartments in New Hope and 63 new affordable single-family homes in North Minneapolis.
“This is a very interesting area,” said Chris Osmundson, Alatus director of development. It is in Lexington-Hamline area of Union Park but borders Frogtown, Hamline-Midway and Summit-University. Area residents are a mix of ethnicities and economic backgrounds. It’s also part of the old Rondo neighborhood, a predominantly African-American neighborhood that was partially destroyed when Interstate 94 was built in the 1960s.
The 2.05-acre site is just south of TCF Bank and White Castle. It is owned by Wilder Foundation, which has its headquarters west of the property. A new development would finish the southwest corner of Lexington and University Avenue. The site was one home to the St. Paul Saints ballpark, but was redeveloped as a strip mall more than 50 years ago. High-profile battles were waged over redevelopment in the 1990s. Neighborhood groups called for a dense, mixed-use urban village. City officials saw the site as being ideal for big-box retail. It since has been redeveloped with an Aldi grocery store, TCF Bank, Wilder headquarters and an Episcopal Homes senior living building. One original retaining wall for the old ballpark is still in place.
Alatus is mulling the notion of a six-story mixed-use development, with first-floor commercial use and five stories of housing above. About 250 housing units in a mix of size options and an undetermined amount of structured parking spaces are planned. Prices haven’t been determined.
The property is zoned for traditional neighborhoods four use, which could allow heights of up to 75 feet, with additional height allowed through a conditional use permit process.
About a dozen site neighbors attended the meeting, as did a representative of the Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation (ASANDC). ASANDC has expressed interest in buying the parcel. Neighbors raised concerns about addition; a traffic and parking demand generated by the development. Those concerns will be discussed the month ahead.

City seeks grant funding
The St. Paul City Council April 24 approved a grant request for a Midway site that has long been eyed for redevelopment. Property at 1730 University Ave. and the former Ford Motor Company site in Highland were submitted to the Metropolitan Council, for consideration for possible Livable Communities Demonstration Account (LCDA) pre-development grants.
Then city has used various Livable Communities Development Grants for several years, and for projects all along Green Line light rail. Projects funded through the grant program have to meet certain criteria. The city has to apply for the grants on behalf of developers. In this case a developer hasn’t been named.
1730 University is a commercial building. It’s on a block with another small commercial property and two homes. The properties have been marketed as a group and are zoned for traditional neighborhoods 3 mixed-use redevelopment. The rezoning occurred several years ago as part of a larger rezoning project all along Green Line light rail.
A total of six parcels, comprising .46 acres, make up the site.

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