Seven-story Dinkytown apartment moves forward

The building will be located at the site of Hideaway and Cosmic Bean Dispensary in the core of Dinkytown.

A+rendering+of+the+4th+Street+Apartments%2C+which+was+approved+by+the+Minneapolis+Planning+Commission+earlier+this+month.

Courtesy of North Bay Companies

A rendering of the 4th Street Apartments, which was approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission earlier this month.

Jasmine Snow

After months of community pushback, a seven-story housing development in Dinkytown was approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission earlier this month.

The 4th Street Apartments — located at 1309-1315 4th Street SE next to Mesa Pizza— will be an 81-unit apartment building with almost 3,000 sq. ft. dedicated to commercial use on the ground floor. North Bay Companies, the developer, will also include a lobby and amenity areas on the ground floor.

However, some community members remain concerned about the project’s impact on Dinkytown’s historic district and are frustrated that the developer did not make more changes based on their criticisms.

The building will have about six affordable units, the minimum required by the city. But Barbara Camm, Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (MHNA) treasurer, said she is still concerned about the impact on Dinkytown street life and affordable housing.

Community members requested that the development be reduced from seven stories to six, maintain parking minimums and reconsider a “step back” design to mitigate the visual impact of the building. North Bay added the step back to the design that was approved by the planning commission.

The project is part of an ongoing pattern of apartments built in the core blocks of Dinkytown’s business district.

“Student housing is not a bad thing as it is,” said Marcus Mills, a Marcy-Holmes resident and former board member of MHNA. “Luxury housing isn’t a bad thing, either. But anything in excess … can be problematic. And that has been the gross majority of the development in Marcy-Holmes … There’s very little effort to try and balance out the housing.”

After difficulties with historic guidelines and community pushback, the development will not force Camdi and Mesa Pizza to close during construction. Hideaway will close temporarily and reopen in the building’s ground floor. Cosmic Bean Dispensary is expected to close permanently. The neighboring Kollege Klub bar will be untouched by development.

Kristen Eide-Tollefson, founder of the Book House in Dinkytown and coordinator at Preserve Historic Dinkytown (PHD), said she takes issue with the changes it would bring to the street.

“Dinkytown is about accessibility and inclusion,” she wrote in an email to the Minnesota Daily. “Privatizing even a small portion of the small business district (defined as the inside blocks of the 4th and 14th intersection) undermines the whole.”

Eide-Tollefson said PHD members would like to meet with developers again to ask for further changes to the apartment.

“We all understand the developer’s perspective and requirements,” Eide-Tollefson wrote. “The lack of accommodation or consideration of the neighborhood’s perspectives and interests was surprising for a local architect and developer who [knows] so much about Dinkytown, to be unwilling to further discuss the design concerns.”

Garret Duncan, a North Bay development analyst, said the company’s goal is to communicate with the community where they are building as much as possible before and after plans are approved. He said the company often returns to community groups multiple times throughout the planning process, and that they would be willing to collaborate further with Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes organizations in the future.

“Our goal is to always build something that’s going to fit into the community where it’s being built,” Duncan said. “We really want to make sure that the voices of the community are being heard while also complying with the city’s 2040 plan … It’s a tough medium.”

The project is expected to be completed by March 2023, according to planning documents, barring extensions from the zoning administrator or any permit non-compliance.