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62-Unit Apartment Building Proposal Returns

First edition of design on France Ave shot down by city.

The city-imposed moratorium on large-scale development in Linden Hills is soon to get its first test.

After his by Linden Hills residents and Minneapolis City Planning Commission members for bringing a building proposal that was "too large" for a proposed site on the 4500 block of France Avenue South, developer Scott Carlston is back with a new plan for the 4525 France site.

The site stretches from the southern edge of the Lake Harriet Masonic Lodge to the corner of 45th Street West and France Avenue. 

The new design keeps , said Jim Erickson, Carlston's spokesperson. However, by getting rid of a line of retail spaces on the ground floor, the new building's overall height has been dropped by 1 story. The facade has also been broken up to appear townhouse-like, Erickson said, with slightly varrying roof heights.

The southern end of the building, he added, won't exceed the height of the six-unit apartment building currently on that corner. That building currently sits on top of a roughly 1-story high mound of earth, which will be removed as part of the construction to allow space for a ramp leading down to the building's subterranean parking garage.

"The modified project continues to represent a significant improvement to the housing stock in the neighborhood and the City," Erickson told Patch in an email, "with an anticipated $300,000+ increase over the property taxes now paid by the current use of the four parcels."

Erickson said there no renderings of the new design available yet, as the design may still change as a result of local feedback before it's submitted in the fall.

"We'd like to share those with the neighbors first," he said in an interview with Patch.

Before buldozers drivers can even think of reaching for their keys, though, the Minneapolis City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee first has to give the OK. That's because the 4500 block of France, along with Linden Hills' two business nodes at 44th and France and 43rd and Upton, is covered by a moratorium on large-scale development. The Minneapolis City Council put the measure in place after the controversial Linden Corner development was shot down, to complete . 

In order to qualify for a waiver from the moratorium, developers have to establish that they will suffer from undue "hardship" due to the moratorium. While there's not a lot of precedent to determine what's qualifies as "hardship" in this case, said City Councilmember Betsy Hodges (Ward 13).

"We want the small area plan to succeed," said Ben Hecker, aide to City Councilmember Betsy Hodges (Ward 13).

Erickson told Patch that he doesn't think the moratorium will be a big hurdle for the 4525 France project.

"It's very simple. We filed before the moratorium was put in place, and we withdrew our application in order to follow the waiver process rather than file an appeal" of the Planning Commission's decision, he said. "We were not the cause of the moratorium or the small area plan process."

 

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