General Mills development looks to enter phase two

Doran Companies presented an outline of the site’s future development to the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood Monday.

Construction employees work on the Marcy-Holmes General Mills renovation near St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 25. The renovation project is in its second construction phase.

Will Tooke

Construction employees work on the Marcy-Holmes General Mills renovation near St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 25. The renovation project is in its second construction phase.

Imani Cruzen

Plans for the next stages of a mixed-use development near St. Anthony Main in Marcy-Holmes are under consideration by the neighborhood, despite concern over previous development. 

Doran Companies, the construction and development company responsible for campus housing such as Sydney Hall and The Bridges, presented its initial concepts Sept. 24 for the remaining six acres of the General Mills site that was purchased in 2017. The proposed development, which will include new residential and retail space, is phase two of a larger vision for the area.

“I think it will increase a lot of different aspects of the neighborhood,” said Doran Companies founder Kelly Doran. “I think it will … drive [in] a lot of new residents that don’t currently live in the neighborhood. They’re going to come here to live, they’re going to drive additional businesses into the area.”

The site for phase two sits at the blocks between 3rd Avenue Southeast and 5th Avenue Southeast and University Avenue Southeast and 2nd Street Southeast. 

These two blocks will be residential complexes of 850 units total with around 100 affordable units, if approved by the City. Doran presented several options for the complexes and discussed the preferences of the City Planning Commission and the Heritage Preservation Commission. All potential options include the creation of an on-site road between University Avenue Southeast and 2nd Street Southeast, which Ward 3 Minneapolis City Council member Steve Fletcher calls a win for the community. 

Fletcher said he’s heard mixed feedback from constituents on the development, but he’s excited about the inclusion of affordable units in preliminary concepts.

“My take on it is that the thing that we struggle the most with is getting affordable housing built,” said Fletcher. 

Currently under construction as part of phase one is The Expo, a 372-units luxury apartment complex. The Expo will also feature retail spaces and townhomes, and is expected to open in 2020.

Some residents at Monday’s General Mills neighborhood meeting raised concerns about increased traffic and the height of The Expo. The development is located in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. This led the HPC to deny The Expo’s proposal due to its height, but the denial was successfully appealed.

A letter from Mississippi National River and Recreation Area Superintendent John O. Anfinson on behalf of the National Park Service to the City’s Planning Commission requested The Expo not exceed the height of the Red Tile grain elevator to preserve the integrity of the area and avoid impacting the skyline. Despite the request, Doran Companies won its appeal and was able to go forward with The Expo.

Despite concerns, Fletcher said the project will be a desirable community for students in the neighborhood.

“I think for students, and especially for students who are really trying to enjoy Marcy-Holmes and Dinkytown as walkable, livable communities, I think having more people and more retail is going to provide a higher level of service in the neighborhood,” said Fletcher.

Doran Companies will seek project approvals in early 2019. It has not yet filed with the city, according to Doran Companies’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing Tonya Tennessen.