The St. Anthony City Council gave Interstate Development preliminary approval Sept. 14 on a planned unit development (PUD) that involves Bremer Bank and a city-owned parcel of land known as “the old bowling alley site.” If the developer meets 14 conditions set forth by the St. Anthony City Planning Commission, the Council could give the go-ahead for construction perhaps as soon as late this year.
In the proposal, Bremer would purchase the City’s land at 2654 Kenzie Terrace and build a new bank at that location. Although it would have drive-up lanes, the bank’s business will primarily focus on commercial activity, rather than retail banking.
After the new bank is built, the old Bremer location at 2401 Lowry Avenue NE would be torn down and Interstate will erect a 76-unit workforce-oriented apartment building in its place.
The third piece of the deal involves a triangle of land that Bremer owns at 2534 Kenzie Terrace. This tiny “remnant” property would be transferred to St. Anthony Village for possible use as a signed “gateway” to the city.
According to plans, the bank would occupy slightly more than 6,000 sq. ft. of the currently unoccupied land. A new curb cut would be made on Kenzie Terrace, if Hennepin County approves. (Kenzie Terrace is a county road.) Drivers would also be able to access the bank from the alley behind the property. However, St. Anthony Village wants to keep a sliver of the property that protrudes into the alley for easy maintenance of the alley.
The bank would have three drive-up lanes. The proposal calls for downcast LED lighting around the perimeter of the property. The planning commission asked for some changes so that the light would not shine into the senior living building next door.
The apartment building
The proposed apartment building would be four stories (56 feet) high, with one story underground for 66 parking spaces. Living quarters are divided into 30 one-bedroom, 17 one-bedroom/alcove, 26 two-bedroom and 3 three-bedroom apartments. At 40 units per acre, it meets St. Anthony’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan guidance.
Residents would enter via Kenzie Terrace. The curb cut on the Stinson Parkway side of the property would be eliminated, which the developer says would open up 12 parking spaces on the street. However, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board has jurisdiction over the parkway and will have to weigh in on this use. Sixty parking spaces would be arrayed outside the building, which will be set back 30 feet from Stinson.
Parking was a sticking point for members of the City Council, as it was for Minneapolis residents who live near the Kenzie Terrace /Lowry-Stinson intersection and attended the Aug. 17 planning commission meeting. Council Member Jan Jenson worried if a separate charge for garage rent would deter building residents from using the underground parking in winter. He wondered if parking could be included in the rent, and perhaps made a condition of the PUD.
Council Member Thomas Randle said he has worked in the multihousing industry for several years and said people often opt out of paying for parking. “This is workforce housing,” he said. “Not everybody can afford to pay for parking. This happens at every multihousing facility in Minnesota.”
Council Member Wendy Webster noted that the apartments would be located on a bus line. “We may find people using Metro Transit or a bike,” she said.
A representative from Interstate said the building “isn’t overly amenitized. Not all units have balconies,” she said. “Those that do pay extra rent for them. Covered parking is an option.”
Full approval of the PUD requires Bremer and Interstate to meet the following criteria:
• Slice off the portion of 2654 Kenzie Terrace that pokes into the alley so St. Anthony retains ownership of it.
• Work with Hennepin County and MPRB on access-related issues.
• Modify the bank site plan to increase drive-through lane “stacking space.”
• Modify the bank’s landscaping to retain some of the site’s existing evergreens.
• The monument sign for the bank meets city requirements. If they want an electronic sign, they’ll have to get a separate Conditional Use Permit.
• Modify the lighting at the bank site so it doesn’t affect the residents at Walker on Kenzie.
• Add foundation plantings along Stinson and Kenzie Terrace at the apartment building.
• Parking for the multifamily housing site is adequate.
• Final PUD plans must show the locations of ADA parking for disabled persons.
• A final signage plan must also be submitted with the PUD.
• The City Engineer will inspect and consult on grading, drainage and utilities.
• The applicant posts all the necessary securities to enter into a PUD agreement with the city.
• Land transfers must be suitable to the City Council.
• Bremer and Interstate must take comments from city staff into consideration.
Interstate Development is familiar with working with St. Anthony officials. The developer is building a 38-unit apartment building at 3725 Stinson Blvd., next to The Unofficial. A timetable for the Kenzie Terrace developments will be set after PUD approval.
Below: Bremer Bank will erect a new bank at the “old bowling alley” site (2). When construction is complete, the bank will move and Interstate Development will construct a 76-unit apartment building (1). The remnant parcel owned by Bremer (3) will transfer to the City of St. Anthony. Interstate Development will build a 76-unit workforce apartment building at 2401 Lowry Avenue NE, the site currently occupied by Bremer Bank. (Provided graphics)