3 apartment buildings planned for Girard Ave in Uptown

At a Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association meeting last night, residents learned about plans for a pair of apartment buildings on a two-block stretch of Girard Avenue in the Wedge, just north of the Uptown Transit Center. Developers Yellow Tree and Perkins Levin have partnered on proposals for a 76-unit, six-story building at 2824-2832 Girard; and a 119-unit, 6-story building at 2701-2715 Girard. They hope to receive approval from the city this year and begin construction next year.

The same developers have plans for a third building — four stories and 76 units — on the 3200 block of Girard. That proposal will be presented to the South Uptown neighborhood organization later this month.

Robb Lubenow of Yellow Tree said rents for both buildings in the Wedge would be targeted at the “entry point” of market rate housing, which he defined as people making $30,000 to 60,000 per year.

The 28th and Girard building would have a car stacking machine, pushing the total parking capacity to 43. According to Lubenow, “Where we would normally park 12 cars we can park 34.” A similar mechanism allowing for more car parking in a smaller space is planned for a nearby Yellow Tree project at 28th and Garfield.

Plans for the building at 27th and Girard do not include a car elevator — just 74 traditional car parking spaces, 45 of which will be underground. Lubenow said that the brick material and six walkup units facing Girard Avenue were intended to help the building fit into the neighborhood.

The public comment portion of the meeting was not productive:

  • Concerns immediately turned to parking (it is settled policy in Minneapolis that we’re not going to require lots of parking near transit).
  • Then a guy kept making the incredibly wrong claim that this is primarily single-family and duplex neighborhood and therefore this building is out of character.
  • Next, a lady took a jab at the homes of many existing Wedge residents by saying, “In a few years they’re gonna look like all those 1960s apartments.”
  • And finally, a guy couldn’t get over the fact that apartment dwellers would be peering into his backyard, including a reference to “pedophiles.”

With all that happening, there really wasn’t much time to make reasonable suggestions about what might improve the proposal.

To respond to character complaints, please look at surrounding buildings and see how it is extremely in character with the neighborhood.

It’s important to point out that these apartments would be built just one street over from Hennepin Avenue, which is a high frequency transit corridor in Minneapolis. The Uptown Transit Center is located nearly adjacent to the 28th and Girard site; and just two blocks from 27th and Girard. Bus Rapid Transit is coming to Hennepin Avenue (the E Line), with station planning beginning this year, and construction to start as soon as 2023. And because of this proximity to transit, these two sites have been zoned for apartment buildings of this scale going back many decades.