Construction postponed for Motley apartment complex

The original layout plan seemed to target undergraduate students, but the revised plans now are geared toward graduate students, working professionals and faculty.

by Lolla Mohammed Nur

Undergraduates hoping to find new, affordable housing in Prospect Park might have their hopes put on hold. City Planning Commission approval of the construction of Eagle Crossing Apartments on the 600 block of Ontario Street Southeast in Motley was postponed earlier this week. The developmentâÄôs owner agreed to remove the review of the plans from a Monday Commission meeting in order to discuss the revisions with the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association (PPERRIA). Motley is a subsection of the Prospect Park neighborhood. âÄúThe University is changing,âÄù owner Patrick Burns said. âÄúBusiness owners have to be responsive to those changes. ItâÄôs wise to talk this through.âÄù Discussions between PPERRIA and the developers over the apartment building have been taking place for more than a year. PPERRIA and the developers agreed that the apartments would be designed for graduate students, working professionals and faculty. However, PPERRIA President Dick Poppele said the original plan layout seemed to target undergraduate students. He said issues included too many bedrooms that were not large enough to appeal to graduate students. Revised plans will include more units with fewer bedroom counts per unit. The rooms will also be larger in size in order to appeal to a non-undergraduate student demographic. The apartments will range from $1,000 per month for a one bedroom apartment to $2,000 per month for a three bedroom apartment. Parking may change from surface to underground. âÄúItâÄôs an area thatâÄôs of interest to the neighborhood, the University and developers,âÄù Poppele said. âÄúWeâÄôre all trying to work together to make this successful.âÄù Housing developer Jason Klohs said although he doesnâÄôt think the market for graduate students is as high for that of undergraduates, heâÄôs âÄúwilling to try.âÄù He also said that although PPERRIA and the development planners will compromise, âÄúthere are market and physical realities of the property that may hinder us to get everything done.âÄù Affordability may also be an issue. Jan Morlock of the University of Minnesota District Partnership Alliance said targeting professionals and alumni is wise because the light rail will provide more flexibility for undergraduate student commuters. âÄúThe area is changing,âÄù she said. She also said thousands of housing developments for undergraduate students have been built over the past 10 years and the revisions would target a better demographic. Klohs said he hopes the revised plans will be approved at the October Commission meeting.