Update (2/15): The appeal of Sons of Norway was denied and the rezoning application succeeded, the project will be proceeding as planned! Thanks to everyone who emailed, and extra thanks to those who took time out of their morning/afternoon to speak!
Update (2/1): The ECCO neighborhood organization has filed an appeal with the city in continued attempts to delay or substantially alter the project. The project will be going before the Zoning and Planning Committee on Feb. 15th. Contact info below has been updated to reflect this.
Update (1/22): The project was approved at the Planning Commission and will be going forward to construction, with some additional small changes (which will not affect unit counts, parking spaces, etc.). Thanks to everyone who emailed and spoke in favor, you made a difference!
Project overview: This is a new 7-story mixed-use building with 319 residential units and 23,000 square feet of retail space. It will replace the existing Sons of Norway building at 1455 W Lake St, and will also redevelop a large chunk of the bountiful asphalt fields adjacent to the existing building. This project is in the middle of a transit-rich, walkable and active neighborhood. It is across the street from a grocery store, very close to the Uptown transit center, near to many parks, restaurants, jobs, stores, parks, and of course, the chain of lakes.
The project has been the subject of several letters to the editor to the Star Tribune and Southwest Journal (see below for media coverage and news articles). Opposition from neighborhood organizations has succeeded somewhat in demanding redesigns of the project to accommodate their absurd concerns (so, the south building is 5 stories, and the north building is 7, originally an even 6). Opponents, consisting almost 100% of privileged homeowners, and “longtime residents”, have been using language like “livability”, meaning “less people living in city” to oppose it. If this is “livability” it’s destroying the planet. Instead, “livability” should be defined as living adjacent to things you need so you can easily walk, bike or take public transit to get to work, groceries, and entertainment.
This project is now being appealed by the neighborhood org, and needs your support! Neighbors for More Neighbors opposes the appeal, help us out! If you’d like to receive alerts about things like this, join the mailing list. Support our work through Patreon, or by buying swag editions of our art.
How to help
Send a short email in support of this project (even two or three sentences will do) to the Zoning & Planning Committee members. This project’s appeal hearing will be at the Z&P Committee on February 15th at 10 AM, so make sure to get your email in reasonably in advance of that. The meeting agenda is here.
If you don’t want to copy/paste all the email addresses, click here to mail them all.
- Jeremy Schroeder (Chair, Ward 11) : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kevin Reich (Vice-chair, Ward 1): email@example.com
- Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cam Gordon (Ward 2): email@example.com
- Lisa Goodman (Ward 7): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lisa Bender (Ward 10): email@example.com
- Please deny the appeal.
- I support the proposed redevelopment of Sons of Norway
- The project has already been through the process, has plenty of support from neighbors, and has the support of the Planning Commission. Continuing to draw out approval is delaying much needed housing during a housing shortage.
- I support the rezoning from R4 to R6, and variance to increase the maximum lot coverage.
- This project includes 323 parking spaces, which is more than enough for a walkable and transit-rich area.
- There is an ever increasing demand for housing in Uptown, and near to downtown.
- The proposed project is near to a number of bus connections, bike connections, and walking connections to much of the city. This includes rush-hour express busses that serve the U of M and Uptown, and numerous high-frequency bus routes connecting to downtown and light rail.
- The project is very close to the Midtown Greenway, and also adjacent to 31st, which is on the City Bicycle Master Plan for future bike lanes.
- The majority of the surrounding neighborhood is zoned to prevent triplexes, so there are presently few opportunities to build more housing. As such, the Sons of Norway project must proceed at the proposed height, including the rezoning and variances.
- Public comments submitted are largely the voices of long-time homeowners in the area, and you are not hearing from people who would like to live in cities, and who do not desire to own a home, drive, or park, and would rather enjoy a city without a car.
- Concerns about parking are not warranted: people are increasingly ditching their cars in favor of more environmentally friendly forms of transit. Likely, many who live in this building will not own their own cars.
- Traffic concerns are misleading: according to 2015 traffic studies, the average daily traffic was about 25% lower than historical peaks at that location (>20,000 in 1988, 2004).
- Building this project as is would contribute greatly to the livability of the area, allowing people to live near to transit and amenities, and especially, near to the chain of lakes.
- Uptown is a suitable location for this development, and the development fits the scale of the neighborhood, there are buildings this high within blocks.
- The proposed development is directly adjacent to a block listed in the Uptown Small Area Plan as an “activity center”, this development fits within a live-work designation, and as such is completely appropriate.
- Staff Report: [121 MB!!] http://ci.minneapolis.mn.us//www/groups/public/@cped/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-207840.pdf
Letters to the Editor
- “Livability” fearmongering in the Star Tribune (Strib)
- Urban density: Beware those who have a vested interest in ‘livability’ (Strib)
- Affordable housing: Hey, what about those of us here in the middle? (Strib)
- Urban density: Zoning rules aren’t written in stone (Strib)
- Debating the definition of “livability” (SWJ)
- Neighborhoods react to Sons of Norway development proposal (SWJ, Nov 2017)
- East Calhoun board opposes Sons of Norway project, redesign follows (SWJ, Dec 2017)
- Sons of Norway site may hold 300+ units, ice rink (SWJ, Oct 2017)
- Open house Nov. 7 for Sons of Norway project (SWJ, Nov 2017)