By Tim Krohn
Free Press Staff Writer
NORTH MANKATO — A down-sized Marigold apartment complex is gaining more favor with public officials as it passed its first hurdle this week.
The North Mankato Planning Commission on Thursday recommended approval of five variances that would be needed for construction of the four-story 58-unit apartment that would be built just off of Belgrade Avenue near the foot of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The estimated cost of the project is $10 million.
Community Development Director and interim City Administrator Mike Fisher said the commission looked at each of the variances separately, ultimately recommending the City Council approve all of them.
The request will be considered by the council at its meeting slated for 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The project would need a variance to have more units than now allowed for in one building, a side-yard setback variance, and variances relating to the lot area, lot width and lot coverage.
Fisher said some residents spoke against the project, arguing the project shouldn’t be approved until the city develops a long-range strategic development and land-use plan for the downtown.
They also opposed granting the variances.
Developer Van Moody came back with the revised plan after a larger project he proposed last year ran into numerous zoning issues that effectively prevented the city from being able to legally approve the project. That project, a six-story 106-unit upscale building, was opposed by many residents in the area.
The new proposal would have covered parking on the first floor with apartments on the upper levels. Rent would range from about $1,000 to $2,000. Construction could begin in May if approvals are given.
Besides seeking the variances from the council, the developer will be asking the Port Authority and council for tax-increment financing. TIF is a subsidy that uses the additional property taxes generated by a new project to help pay for the project.
Fisher said the request would be for an estimated $1.6 million in TIF that would be paid out in annual installments through 2028.