Riverfront housing still in progress despite concerns

Robyn Repya

On a dusty lot by St. Anthony Main, the Minneapolis Stone Arch Partners are building 273 apartment units. But they’re doing so without the blessing of many neighbors.

The Minneapolis City Council denied appeals that would stop construction of the apartment buildings, appeals made by the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, the University, WD Forbes & Company and Metal-Matic Incorporated.

Melissa Bean, MHNA staff member, said noise caused by the steam plant next door and constant business and truck traffic in the area makes the spot unsuitable for residences.

“We do not feel the current environment there is suitable for residential use,” she said.

The city’s planning department specifies leases for the new units must notify tenants of the industrial nature of the site. The department also is requiring the MSAP to take measures blocking excess noise.

The buildings’ developers say they are sensitive to community concerns.

Principal developer Steve Minn said he and other developers split the building in two to retain the neighborhood’s river view.

He said they also changed the streetscape because the neighborhood wanted to see more walk-up units.

“We’re representing this as housing in a gritty urban landscape,” Minn said.

Forty percent of the units have been designated as affordable housing units.

And Minn said the location is ideal.

“It’s a five-minute walk from downtown, a five minute bike ride to campus and five-minutes to the East Hennepin commercial district.”

Ward 2 City Council Member Joan Campbell voted to deny the appeals. She said she understands the neighborhood’s desire for a more comprehensive plan involving mixed-use housing.

Although Campbell said the project might be incompatible for the surroundings, the housing is needed.

“The need for housing overrode the other concerns,” she said.

Robyn Repya covers East Bank
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