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Richfield considers first west side rentals in decades.

Byline: Brian Johnson

Multifamily construction has been booming on the east side of Richfield, and now the western part of the city is getting into the act, too.

Local developers Erik Winegarden and Dave Lundy, doing business as Broadway Investors LLC, want to build a 179-unit apartment complex just north of 66th Street between Russell and Queen avenues in Richfield.

The proposed NOVO Apartment project would be Richfield's first new market-rate apartment development west of Interstate 35W since 1970, and the first of any kind on the west side since 1987, said Matt Brillhart, Richfield's associate planner.

The project is up for City Council review on Dec. 11. The Richfield Planning Commission on Monday recommended approval of a rezoning request. Construction could begin as soon as next summer, according to the project team.

Winegarden said that the project would be a "tremendous asset" to the city and its residents and that it would fill a need for more apartments on the west side. The project would overlook the 66th Street corridor, where a $63.8 million makeover is nearing completion.

Planned amenities run the gamut from a pool and hot tub area to underground parking and a concourse with fire pits, said Winegarden, who declined to reveal a development cost.

If approved, the project would join hundreds of other multifamily units proposed, recently completed, or under construction in Richfield.

That includes the $60 million Chamberlain project under construction on a 7-acre site framed by 17th Avenue South, 66th Street East, 68th Street East and Cedar Avenue South. The project will offer 284 new market-rate apartments and 33 renovated units. St. Louis Park-based Inland Development is the developer. Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson is the contractor.

In September, the City Council approved plans for NHH Properties to build 218 apartments and 72 townhomes on a site along Richfield Parkway and 16th Avenue between Taft Park and 65th Street. The site is immediately west of the Cedar Point Commons commercial area, which is anchored by a Target and a Home Depot.

Richfield's apartment vacancy rate was 2.5 percent as of the second quarter of 2018, according to the most recent Marquette Advisors Apartment Trends report.

Designed by DSO Architects of Minnetonka, the NOVO project would feature a C-shaped building with two levels of below-grade parking. The unit mix includes 29 studios, 70 one-bedrooms, 24 single-bedroom/den apartments, and 56 two-bedroom/two bath units, according to the city staff report.

Winegarden said the development team has control of the site, which includes seven separate properties covering 2.12 acres. Existing uses include single-family houses, driveways and accessory buildings, the report said. The site is about three blocks east of Sheridan Park and a block west of the Penn Avenue corridor.

The developer proposes to vacate Queen Avenue through the site and extend Russell Avenue 200 feet to the south to intersect with 66th Street. The new alignment would allow the development to move forward while maintaining local traffic circulation, the staff report said.

On Monday, the Planning Commission approved a request to rezone part of the NOVO Apartments site from high-density residential and single-family residential to "planning multifamily residential."

As a condition of approval, the Planning Commission asked the developer to reduce the building height from four to three stories along on the north side to lessen its impact on nearby single-family houses, Brillhart said.

"The Planning Commission was looking for a better transition to the single-family homes to the north to reduce the shadow impact," he said.

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Related:

Ames submits lowest bid for reworking 66th Street

Kraus-Anderson, Inland plan $60M apartment complex in Richfield

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Publication:Finance and Commerce
Date:Nov 27, 2018
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