Green apartments proposed near U

Developers have submitted plans to the city and hope to begin building this fall.

by Alex Holmquist

Plans for an apartment building on Delaware Street near Huron Boulevard have been submitted to the city. The project would be constructed and managed by Solhem, a Minneapolis-based company that focuses on green living. Property owner Curt Gunsbury said the target market for the building will be University of Minnesota students and faculty. âÄúWe really think itâÄôs a great place to create green-living opportunities in the city,âÄù Gunsbury said. If approved, Gunsbury said he hopes to begin construction this fall and to be completed by the 2011 school year. Under the current plan, the six-story building would have 75 apartments, including 40 two-bedroom units, 30 one-bedroom units and five studios. Rental prices for the units have not been set, Gunsbury said. Plans for the building include several energy-efficient initiatives, including many water conservation features and oversized windows to increase solar gain in the winter, Gunsbury said. Plans also include on-site shared cars that will be available to rent for about $8 an hour with a $25 membership fee, Gunsbury said. âÄúItâÄôs a great alternative to owning a car,âÄù he added. Gunsbury said he thinks residents would take advantage of the shared cars and other forms of public transportation. âÄúItâÄôs a super high-density site with multiple roads all coming together,âÄù Gunsbury said. âÄúWeâÄôre really at the transportation nexus there.âÄù Florence Littman, chairwoman of the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association zoning committee, said that although it would be nice to have an energy-efficient building in the neighborhood, she doesnâÄôt think access to public transit and a shared car will deter the buildingâÄôs tenants from owning a car, which would add to the parking-related problems in the neighborhood. âÄúI know people are not going to give [their cars] up,âÄù Littman said. The location is a Minnesota Superfund cleanup site, formerly the site of Gopher Oil. Solhem qualified for $980,000 in grants from the Hennepin County Environmental Response Fund to clean up the site. Solhem has been working with Tushie Montgomery Architects to design the building, but Gunsbury said they will continue working with PPERRIA to develop plans for the buildingâÄôs look. Gunsbury said he hopes to find out if plans for the building are approved by late May or early June.