On Wednesday, April 9 the CIDNA Board unanimously approved resolutions not to oppose two apartment projects following recommendations by its Land Use Committee on April 7. Greystar, already one of the largest developers in Uptown with Élan, has proposed a 90-unit luxury apartment project on the vacant land at Thomas Avenue and West Lake Street. The developer is seeking a conditional use permit to exceed the 35-and 56-foot height proscriptions. Greystar has achieved a sensitive balance between respect for the shoreland, parks, trails, and single-family residences while considering the context of the 12-story Calhoun Beach Club Apartments and the City’s classification of West Lake Street as a high-density thoroughfare.
The Greystar project represents ten years of work by CIDNA to shape development on the site. Greystar has proposed a height and shadowing profile similar to the Lander project, which was not built, but which CIDNA approved in 2006. CIDNA has opposed three other tall projects in the neighborhood: 10-stories by Lander in 2005, 12 stories by Bigos in 2012, and 11 stories by Trammel Crow in 2013.
Founding members of ELECT, who in the 1990’s successfully introduced an ordinance to limit shoreland buildings above 35 feet, objected to Greystar’s height and massing. Although approving Greystar, CIDNA officially commended Arlene Fried, Harriet Horwitz, Sally Anson and Steve Woldum, founding members of ELECT speaking before CIDNA, for their work in limiting building height on our lakes, and creating a lasting legacy of human-scale shorelines in our city.
CIDNA also approved a 154-unit 6-story apartment project proposed by Trammell Crow Company, a major national developer, on the site of Tryg’s restaurant at 3118 West Lake Street next to the Loop Calhoun Condominiums. CIDNA commended the developer for addressing the neighborhood’s concerns about height, Greenway and Loop Condos interface, and project design, which eliminated the previously monolithic character of the building. The average height of the project would be about 60 feet, and would be within +/- 4 feet of the Loop Condos height.
Traffic has been a huge concern for the neighborhood with both of these projects. Forty thousand cars pass the Lake Street/Dean Parkway intersection daily, one of the busiest street intersections in the city and the state. Pedestrian safety also has been of great concern in CIDNA even before the tragic accident of Caitlan Barton at Market Plaza. Council Member Linea Palmisano in cooperation with West Calhoun Neighborhood Association has invited concerned citizens to discuss pedestrian and cyclist safety in the community on Tuesday May 13, 7pm. at The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Avenue South.
To partially address safe pedestrian connectivity Trammell Crow will build sidewalks on the east and north perimeters of their site to create safer pedestrian walkways, which could represent the beginning of a pedestrian trail south of the Greenway between Dean Parkway and Calhoun Village. CIDNA also is supporting community efforts to explore a new north-south bike-ped trail between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. This trail could cross a bridge as envisioned by a Park Board charette in 2012, or the trail could cross Lake Street at Thomas Avenue, or both. Please contact your neighborhood to participate in these important projects. Another vision we are exploring to calm traffic and create more livability is the “boulevardization” of Lake Street, which would add trails, trees, center medians, and lighting to this busy and high-speed County thoroughfare.