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Linden Corner Development Returns, At Half-Size

New proposal emerges for Famous Dave's site in Linden Hills.

Second time's the charm?

That might be the case for Linden Hills resident and developer Mark Dwyer. His previous effort to redevelop the corner of 43rd and Upton, called Linden Corner, got the axe from the Minneapolis City Council in March.

“We have a great opportunity with this corner to start a dialogue (with the community) to see what we can do,” Dwyer told Patch at the time.

That dialogue looks set to begin August 14, according to Linden Hills Neighborhood Councilmember Chris Maddox, when Dwyer is scheduled to present his preliminary plans to the neighborhood. Dwyer is also scheduled for an informal feedback session with the Minneapolis Planning Commission on July 19.

While Linden Hills' two business districts are currently under , the new proposal will still be able to go forward because it fits within current zoning restrictions.

In an email to Patch, Dwyer cautioned that the specifics of the new project, called "4250 Upton," might change before the final design is submitted to the city. However, by the broad strokes Dwyer was able to sketch in his email, this proposal appears to be about half the size of the old Linden Corner project (see table below).

The Linden Hills residents opposed to Dwyer's project attacked it for its size, for a perceived loss of parking in the neighborhood, and for potential delivery truck-caused traffic snarls. According to information Dwyer provided, the 4250 Upton design seems to concede these points. The new design drops from five to three stories, from 40 units 18, and drops the restaurant.

The new design also keeps a pocket park that sits on the southeast corner of the site, although it will be redesigned.

According to project outline Dwyer submitted to the city last week, he plans to clean up soil underneath the site contaminated with benzene and other gasoline products leftover from its former life as a gas station.

The same document included preliminary plans, posted at right, that show the residents-only underground garage exiting onto 43rd Street, while visitors to ground-floor businesses will use a parking lot on the north of the site.

Take a look at the plans at right, provided by City of Minneapolis planning staff, and the table below, provided by Dwyer. What questions or concerns do you have about the project? 

 

New Project

Old Project / Linden Corner

Stories / Height

3 stories  / 42’

5 stories  / 59’

Underground Parking

1 level.  40 stalls.

2 levels. 122 stalls.

Total Parking

62 stalls

135 stalls

Gross Floor Area

42,000 gsf

89,000 gsf

Commercial Uses

6,000 gsf / no restaurant

12,000 gsf with restaurant

Dwelling Units

18 du’s

40 du’s

CUPs & Variances

TBD by Planning Staff

Several

Lots in Development

2 lots

5 lots

Floor-Area Ratio / Lot Area

1.69x  /  25,052 sf

2.39x  /  38,000 sf


Dawn D July 14, 2012 at 05:31 PM
What happens to Famous Daves?
James Sanna (Editor) July 14, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Not sure. I'm sure they're still exploring possible options, though. If you remember what the process was like on the last go-round, it's going to be a long while until they have to make a decision.
James Sanna (Editor) July 14, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I should add that I'll be following up with them, though :-)
Jenny Anderson July 14, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Linden Corner Development Returns, At Half-Size in Linden Hills, Minneapolis Minnesota. http://southwestminneapolis.patch.com/articles/linden-corner-development-returns-at-half-size How can this happen, I thought this ended with the city council voting down Mark Dwyer be able to put up a building here, And then the City put on a Linden Hills Development Moratorium - a moratorium on any new zoning changes and building permits in Linden Hills. Until a small area plan was developed. “Hodges' proposal says the temporary ban would make sure the neighborhood organization's efforts to develop a "small area plan" don't get cut off at the knees before it's completed” A great solution and everyone was happy. Now developer Mark Dwyer wants to build now at the same location during the Moratorium, this is very very wrong. And how can Mark Dwyer have any credibility now: We were at the meetings were he and his experts said to make the project work at this location the project needed to be 5 stories high and blocks long, or it would be a disaster for the community, the developers, the city and others. So if we go by what Mark Dwyer and his experts said, putting a half sized project would be a disaster. Starting this project up again before the small area plan is completed and approved is just looking for trouble So sad the Linden Hills community is being ripped apart by this, especially since there was a perfect solution of having a Moratorium until small area plan was developed.
Tricia July 14, 2012 at 11:31 PM
The City Council denied the specific request for a conditional use permit that would allow a five-story building. That does not apply to the new proposed building. The moratorium does not ban all commercial building in Linden Hills. It only applies to buildings that would require variances or conditional use permits. This proposal does not require either. From the table above it is clear that this building is significantly scaled back not only in size but in amenities like neighborhood underground parking. That is very likely to explain why this smaller building is more economically feasible. I am sad that the scaled back proposal will not be able to include a restaurant. (This is likely due to the loss of parking.) We've got a great little restaurant node going, but I think there's actually room for a little more. My understanding was that most of the opposition was to the height of the previous plan. Now that the building is now within all zoning restrictions, I hope we don't find out that people are opposed to any building at all.
Jenny Anderson July 15, 2012 at 01:11 PM
People in the Linden Hills Community want the Famous Dave’s space to be developed responsibly. We want to see development there, and we want the project to fit with the neighborhood, and want the project to be successful long term. We do not want a project that will sit empty like other projects nearby – 50th and Xerxes retail, Excelsior and Grand retail, or the massive amount of condos that have failed and are now turned into apartments, reducing the property value of houses and other businesses. We do not want this project to fail due to developer’s lack of financial ability, or incompetence. At this point very few people trust Mark Dwyer; too many times he has said things that were not true. Also Mark Dwyer has said he has NO experience being a developer and he has no financial resources. And how can Mark Dwyer have any credibility now: We were at the meetings were he and his experts said to make the project work at this location the project needed to be 5 stories high and blocks long, or it would be a disaster for the community, the developers, the city and others. So if we go by what Mark Dwyer and his experts said, putting a half sized project will be a disaster. Starting this project up again before the small area plan is completed and approved is just looking for trouble. So sad the Linden Hills community is being ripped apart by this, especially since there was a perfect solution of having a Moratorium until small area plan was developed
Jenny Anderson July 15, 2012 at 01:15 PM
People in the Linden Hills Community want the Famous Dave’s space to be developed responsibly. We want to see development there, and we want the project to fit with the neighborhood, and want the project to be successful long term. We do not want a project that will sit empty like other projects nearby – 50th and Xerxes retail, Excelsior and Grand retail, or the massive amount of condos that have failed and are now turned into apartments, reducing the property value of houses and other businesses. We do not want this project to fail due to developer’s lack of financial ability, or incompetence. At this point very few people trust Mark Dwyer; Mark Dwyer has said he has NO experience being a developer and he has no financial resources. And how can Mark Dwyer have any credibility now: We were at the meetings were he and his experts said to make the project work at this location the project needed to be 5 stories high and blocks long, or it would be a disaster for the community, the developers, the city and others. So if we go by what Mark Dwyer and his experts said, putting a half sized project will be a disaster. Starting this project up again before the small area plan is completed and approved is just looking for trouble. So sad the Linden Hills community is being ripped apart by this, especially since there was a perfect solution of having a Moratorium until small area plan was developed
James Sanna (Editor) July 15, 2012 at 03:21 PM
@Jenny - As I recall, most folks last time around said they liked what the current zoning dictates: 3 stories/43 feet max. They were upset with Dwyer for going bigger than that in his last pitch. As the story unfolds, I'll be trying to pin Dwyer down on the finances, though. Stay tuned.
TC Brooks July 15, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I'd like to see more parking spaces and maybe a few more condos.
Joe Deagan July 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Responsible development is dense mixed-use development at nodes of activity. The community was offered that in the last proposal but couldn't overcome it's knee-jerk NIMBYism. Linden Hills deserves this mediocre development as far as I'm concerned. Excelsior and Grand is one of the best mixed-use developments the metro has had in a long time. And the area, especially Minneapolis, needs more multi-family housing with historically low vacancy rates lower than anywhere but New York. If you want sprawling low density development where renters can't afford to come bother your pristine utopia, move out to Wayzatta or somewhere.
sam c July 16, 2012 at 12:31 PM
@ Joe - You said “Excelsior and Grand is one of the best mixed-use developments the metro has had in a long time”. Then why is there so much empty retail space – empty retail space for years? Why did so many businesses fail there? And why did the condo prices drop like a rock. And why are there now so many apartments there. As far as knee jerk reaction, the reason there was a Moratorium was so a well thought out small area plan could be put in place by the community, city planners, and the city council. “ City put on a Linden Hills Development Moratorium - a moratorium on any new zoning changes and building permits in Linden Hills. Until a small area plan was developed. “Hodges' proposal says the temporary ban would make sure the neighborhood organization's efforts to develop a "small area plan" don't get cut off at the knees before it's completed”” I agree “Starting this project up again before the small area plan is completed and approved is just looking for trouble. So sad the Linden Hills community is being ripped apart by this, especially since there was a perfect solution of having a Moratorium until small area plan was developed”
Matt July 16, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Sad to see we're not getting the density the market craves, but this second proposal sure beats the existing surface parking lot that's a drain on the corner right now.
Matt July 16, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Why more parking spaces? What if people don't want to have cars? They are forced to subsidize others' car habits. Parking minimums are very dangerous to the health of cities! Read "The Gated City" by Ryan Avent and "The High Cost of Free Parking" by Donald Shoup.
Ian Z. Futterer July 17, 2012 at 03:20 AM
It is really sad that people are limiting the influx of new people from the suburbs by blocking any and all development. I'm not sure these groups would be happy with anything but a parking lot. This project has been scaled back at their request to a size that is underserving the market, yet these people still aren't happy. For such a liberal neighborhood they seem to be stuck in the past...
JoeyD July 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Heard of this thing called the Great Recession going on right now? And I don't see what's wrong with apartments. There's incredibly low vacancy rates in Minneapolis right now. We need a greater supply of apartments.
Bagogas July 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
This will be interesting to watch. It will reveal whether people are opposed to development, or development outside of boundaries. If it's within boundaries, it may not be what people THINK they want, but the outcry should be much more subdued. By the way, I've lived in this neighborhood for nearly five decades. The neighborhood people are defending viciously today is the neighborhood a lot of loud voices decried and fought against before. And the same, before that. Development and change is a part of Linden Hills, and a part of all neighborhoods. A building doesn't necessarily fundamentally change a neighborhood -- which is proven everytime you walk down the street. Linden Hills has been fundamentally changed many, many times in the past half century. And sometimes with new buildings, and sometimes without. Let's see what this proposal has to offer before ripping it to pieces... On a personal note, though, if a downscaled proposal means the end of Famous Dave's (did you know this is the only Famous Daves with a different rib smoker? This is why the Linden Hills Famous Daves is highly sought after by many)... Then I will have become very saddened for a loss to the neighborhood that we brought onto ourselves. Let's hope this restaurant, which has symbolic uniqueness to Linden Hills -- is preserved.

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