Is It Finally Condo Time In Linden Hills?
About two years ago, TCB wrote about the regulatory challenges and public opposition residential developers in Minneapolis and St. Paul faced trying to execute infill developments, consistent with both cities’ emphasis on increasing residential density and tax base. The poster child has been first-time developer Mark Dwyer’s condo project in Linden Hills, which evoked high-pitched acrimony from neighbors who opposed the project’s scale and the congestion they said it would bring to the retail node.
The project was long backed by city planners, but political opposition drove it into the rocks of the City Council, which vetoed it and followed with a development moratorium in the neighborhood. After the city created a “small area plan” for Linden Hills late last year, Dwyer halved the size of his project, from 40 units to 20. A request to add an additional half-story, set well back on the structure, evoked another round of acrimony this summer, but the new, more density-friendly City Council approved the request and Dwyer can move ahead.
Dwyer still needs to purchase the land at 43rd Street and Upton Avenue, the site of a vacant restaurant building and parking lot. (Dwyer says he expects to pay north of $2 million.) Then he must obtain financing for the project, which has sold nine units. (A common pre-recession benchmark for lending was 50 percent sold.) Dwyer hopes to break ground yet this year. He says he had “200 expressions of interest from adjacent Lake Harriet neighborhoods,” but he says price hikes caused by halving the development’s size mean most of his current inquiries come from Edina.