New 20-bedroom apartment building slated for Prospect Park

Go Gopher Rentals, LLC would manage the property, its first project in the neighborhood.

Renderings courtesy of William Wells, Wells and Company Architects.

Renderings courtesy of William Wells, Wells and Company Architects.

Caitlin Anderson

 A new 20-bedroom apartment building in Prospect Park will start construction next month.

The Minneapolis Planning Commission approved the project, brought forward by Go Gopher Rentals, LLC owner Chad Kraft and Wells & Company Architects, in mid-August. The four-story building will have five units located at 2624 Essex Ave. SE. near the University of Minnesota campus.

“We like the location because it is very walkable to the University, light rail station, grocery store and TCF Bank Stadium,” said William Wells, project architect and owner of Wells & Company Architects, in an email to the Minnesota Daily. 

The current site is home to a two-story single-family house, which will be demolished in place of the multi-family unit apartments. Among the amenities included in the project are a green space, an enclosed and heated bike room and disability accommodations. 

Go Gopher Rentals, LLC manages a number of rentals around the University, like The Cluster on 4th Street Southeast and The Burrow in Marcy-Holmes. The recent project will be the company’s first development in Prospect Park. 

A lack of readily available parking is often a concern with developments in Prospect Park and other University-area neighborhoods, said Ward 2 City Council member Cam Gordon. While the city requires 10 off-street parking spaces for developments of this size, the Planning Commission approved the project’s request for zero spaces. 

But the upcoming Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, set to be enacted in November, emphasizes transit options over parking, Gordon said. 

“If it’s connected to great transit, maybe we won’t need cars,” he said. 

For Jaret Giesbrecht, no parking spaces in the project poses an issue as a neighboring property owner. He said the lack of parking is a concern in an already-busy area. 

“It‘s going to exacerbate the problem,” he said, who owns apartment buildings near the project. “Prospect Park is a very popular neighborhood.”

The project is near other sources transportation — the Stadium Village and Prospect Park light rail stations. The property’s small size made adding extra room for parking spaces difficult, said Wells in a letter to the city. 

Other recent developments in Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park have sought to fill student housing needs. The city is also having discussions about ways to make housing more affordable, Gordon said. 

“There’s a housing crisis and we’re trying to open up different possibilities,” he said. 

Giesbrecht said due to the below-market rate of his apartment units, his buildings are full. He said affordability is a deciding factor for whether an apartment does well in Prospect Park. The rent rates for this project have not been specified yet. 

The project is expected to be completed by August 2020, Wells said.