Here we are again, talking about what’s going on with the Trader Joe’s proposal for a new store at 27th & Lyndale in the greater Uptown area of Minneapolis.
Unlike what you may have read in the Finance & Commerce, the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association did not take a vote to oppose the Trader Joe’s project. The organization considered a motion to move its Zoning & Planning Committee recommendation to support the project but that motion failed to pass. No one else on the Board offered a motion, so the brief discussion was that they would send a letter saying the motion to support the project failed.
What does that mean? Mostly, it will likely be interpreted that the neighborhood association neither supports or opposes the project though that officially is not the position. Listening to their group discussion, people felt conflicted but generally opposed. Folks supported Trader Joe’s as a business in their neighborhood but objected to the location over concerns of traffic (turning traffic on Lyndale is a concern they have about the Wedge Co-op too, and I agree that it is frustrating) and the loss of traditional urban buildings that are great at housing mom and pop businesses.
Ultimately, the Trader Joe’s proposal will go to the Planning Commission and then on to the City Council since there is a rezoning. The neighborhood association’s position, much like anyone from the public, is something that the City will take into consideration when making their decisions…so in other words, it is advisory.
A few updates on the proposal:
– There will be 30-something on-grade parking stalls (if I recall correctly) and a bunch of underground stalls, taking them to the maximum parking stalls they can have as of right (i.e. without extra permission)
– There will be an entrance to TJs at the south side of the building by the sidewalk and parking lot and a shared vestibule on the north side near the corner that will have an entry to the liquor store as well.
– The underground parking stairs and elevators will be in the vestibule at the 27th/Lyndale corner.
– The exterior is mostly glass and brick, with the cashier stations on the Lyndale side with lots of glass.
– They will rezone from C1 to C2 and are willing to use a Restrictive Covenant to semi-permanently restrict certain uses from the property. (More below)
For land use junkies, the rezoning to C2 was a concern apparently and they are willingly to put the Restrictive Covenant in place. What uses it will restrict have yet to be determined but will be based on input from the neighborhood. The only group to be able to remove the covenant will be the City Council.
The covenant will be put in place and recorded prior to the City Council acting on the zoning change. The City cannot, as it turns out, force the property owner to put a restrictive covenant in place as a condition of the rezoning and that is why they are proposing to do it this way.
What happens if the City doesn’t approve of the rezoning? The restrictive covenant goes away (per a clause in the document). Also it means that TJs couldn’t get a liquor store. What then? We may or may not find out.