Local apartment complex approved

Eagle Crossing Apartments will be built in the Prospect Park area.

Alex Holmquist

Plans to construct an upscale apartment complex in the Prospect Park neighborhood are in the works. In October, the City Planning Commission approved plans to build Eagle Crossing Apartments on the 600 block of Ontario Street in the Motley neighborhood. The complex will include 14 units âÄî six two-bedroom apartments and eight three-bedroom apartments, Project Designer William Wells said. Construction is scheduled to begin as soon as the owner, Patrick Burns, secures financing, Wells said. The contractor for the development, Jason Klohs, said the apartments should be ready for fall semester. Motley is a subsection of the Prospect Park neighborhood, contained by Essex Street on the north, Huron Boulevard on the east, East River Road on the south and Oak Street on the west. Burns originally removed a review of the plans from a September commission meeting to discuss possible revisions with the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association (PPERIA). Dick Poppele, president of PPERIA, said he raised concerns with the developers about a lack of demand for student housing and the number of bedrooms per unit proposed in the original construction plans. Since then, the developers have made several revisions, including reducing the number of bedrooms to appeal to graduate students and faculty. Rebekah Lorence, a 45-year Motley resident and chairwoman of the Motley Crew, a subgroup of PPERIA that works to promote the interests of the Motley neighborhood, said these revisions provided only partial relief to residents who want to preserve the neighborhoodâÄôs character. Lorence said she would like to see more homeowners in the area. âÄúWe want it so people can say this is a neighborhood, not just rental properties,âÄù Lorence said. However, Wells said he hopes the complex will contribute to the vitality of the neighborhood. Klohs said the residentsâÄô resistance to the complex is a form of discrimination against younger students who want to live in the area. âÄúItâÄôs audacious,âÄù he said. Lorence said residents are also concerned with the limited amount of parking that would be increased by more high-density housing. While Klohs admits that limited parking in the neighborhood is problematic, he said construction plans for the complex meet âÄúthe most stringent parking guidelines in the state.âÄù He said the real problem is student commuters who park in the neighborhood. Klohs said the target rental market for the complex is medical students and first-year doctors, since it will be located near the site of the future Ambulatory Care Center on Block 12 in Prospect Park. Plans to build the center have been put on hold, said Angela Higgins, public relations and marketing consultant for Fairview Health Services, but will likely resume in the future. The decision to construct the center was another source of tension between the University of Minnesota and some Motley residents, Lorence said. Lorence said residents felt they were not included in the decision to build the center and added that the UniversityâÄôs interest to develop the area consistently seems to outweigh residentsâÄô concerns.