Neighborhood Task Force OKs High Rise At Nye’s Site

Neighborhood Task Force OKs High Rise At Nye’s Site

The proposal faces sharp opposition from the neighboring church.

A 30-story, 189-unit apartment building received the green light from a neighborhood task force to build on the Nye’s Polonaise site.

Seven of the nine members on the Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association’s task force voted in favor of the project, according to the Star Tribune.

The high-rise project fits in well with the neighborhood’s vision of a dense, mixed-use future that could see several other prominent sites—like Surdyk’s and Kramarczuk’s—transformed.

The new apartments would have six floors of parking, including one underground, with the rest serving as a podium. New retail bays would face Hennepin Avenue.

Schafer-Richardson, the developer, proposes demolishing two of the four structures that currently contain Nye’s, while retaining the two taller portions. The three-story Harness Shop building would be moved to be adjacent to the other two-story corner building.

“We think this is the best plan for the site,” Maureen Michalski, a senior project manager for Schafer-Richardson, said at the meeting.

Despite gaining the support from the task force, opposition has mounted from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, the oldest continually used church in the city, which sits next door to the proposed building.

In a statement on its website, a church advisory committee offered support for growth in the neighborhood, but questioned whether this was the appropriate site. Concerns included vibrations during construction that could harm the church’s foundation, a loss of sunlight and vista views and the building’s parking podium, which could create a 30-40 foot blank wall facing their site.

“Density as a value must be balanced with several other factors in a common sense application of important considerations,” the committee wrote. “Simply put, density is not right for every location and most certainly not a location that jeopardizes the structure of our historic church and its prominent place in the neighborhood.

The project at Nye’s has stirred controversy ever since owners Rob and Tony Jacob announced in December that the restaurant was closing and a new building was proposed on the site. Some have feared it, and future projects, could radically alter the neighborhood’s character.

Because the development is within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, the Heritage Preservation Commission will have to review the plans before the city can begin its own review and approvals.