St. Anthony approves Lowry Grove plans for redevelopment


courtesy of The Village, LLC • A site map of the planned redevelopment of the former Lowry Grove site, which was approved by the St. Anthony City Council at its March 27 meeting. Initial plans for the site boasted more than 700 housing units, but were shot down over concerns of density. The just-approved plans include 414 units.

The St. Anthony City Council approved the latest redevelopment plans for the former Lowry Grove, now being called the Kenzie Terrace & Stinson Parkway development, at its March 27 meeting. 

Mayor Jerry Faust said the city should “move forward” with the project. Council member Hal Gray said he was “inclined” to vote for approval. The council unanimously passed the resolution. 

The St. Anthony council unanimously voted down the first Lowry Grove redevelopment proposal brought by developer The Village, LLC, at its Oct. 10 meeting last year. St. Anthony city staff recommended rejecting the plan over concerns about density expressed by residents during prior community and council meetings.

Down from an original 700 housing units, the latest plan has 414 units, with room for a possible 430.

Another major concern expressed in previous community and council meetings is affordable housing — the Lowry Grove manufactured housing park was some of the least expensive housing in the city, and its closure displaced hundreds of people.

From the October proposal to another in November, affordable housing units went down from 97 to 51. The November plan designated the neighboring Bremer Bank site as the potential location for affordable housing. 

An updated February plan for the site, presented to the St. Anthony Planning Commission, did not include the Bremer Bank site.

The planning commission, which advises the city council, moved to recommend approval of the February proposal with an amendment to “strongly consider” tying financial tax incentives for the development to affordable housing.

Less than a fifth of all housing in the new development, a total of 79 multi-residential units, would be affordable for those earning 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), or $68,000 for a family of four, according to the Metropolitan Council. 

At this rate, rent would be $1,265 for a studio, $1,356 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,627 for a two-bedroom apartment.

St. Anthony residents again spoke about affordable housing at the March 27 council meeting. 

Sandi Sherman said approving the development without replacement housing for people with lower incomes shows the true colors of the council. 

“No amount of focus groups or equity workshops can change who you have shown yourselves to be. It’s truly shameful,” she said.

 

Affordable housing maybe back in mix 

City Manager Mark Casey said he and city staff have had conversations with Aeon, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit affordable housing developer, about the possible development of the Bremer Bank site. 

Aeon was involved with The Village in affordable housing planning for the proposal that was rejected by the St. Anthony council in October. Aeon was not involved with later plans.

Casey said he doesn’t have a lot of information on the possible Bremer development at the time of the March 27 meeting, but added he anticipates seeing something from Aeon regarding the Bremer property in the near future. 

“A lot of times these things aren’t necessarily as visible to the public,” said Faust of Aeon and Bremer possibly producing an affordable housing option, adding he’s also been contacted by representatives from Bremer Bank. 


 

– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815

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