MANKATO — Downtown Mankato’s largest apartment building will include an indoor pool, amenities for dog-owning tenants, more than 100 indoor parking spaces and multiple communal balconies/decks on upper floors, according to new documents filed with the city.
Another upscale apartment building, also planned for Second Street, is set to receive zoning and design approval Monday from the City Council and could be under construction later this year.
And a third project just west of the city center, with apartments mostly targeted at the lower-income tenants, is moving toward formal city approval following years of discussion.
Altogether, the three projects total 170 apartment units, with rents on the east-side buildings likely to exceed the maximum household incomes for some of the tenants in the affordable housing development on the western end.
The newest development, referred to as the “Burton Building” in plans submitted to the city, would demolish the vacant bank at 101 North Second St. and a separate drive-thru building, filling the lot with a six-story apartment building and adjacent commercial/office building.
That project first came to light when the City Council agreed last month to sponsor a state economic development grant application on behalf of the developer. Now, more details are being revealed as Midtown Holdings LLC seeks an initial assessment from the city of whether its plans align with municipal regulations.
“It really focuses on the elements of the plan and how they reflect city code and city standards,” Community Development Director Paul Vogel said.
The plans show 114 ground-floor parking stalls with commercial space fronting Second Street. Above the parking would be an L-shaped apartment building along Second and Main streets and a second-level patio connecting to a building that would provide three floors of office space adjacent to Mulberry Street.
The apartment building would have 89 units on the second through sixth floors with a lounge on the second. On the third floor, designs show an indoor pool and pool deck with a gas-fueled fire pit and a “pet walk” area. (Pet walks are a trend in higher-end apartments — rooms designed for easy cleanup when dog owners are looking to “walk” their dog without taking it outside.)
The fourth, fifth and sixth floors include tenant storage areas. Shared outdoor areas are on the fourth and sixth floors, which would feature a pair of balcony spaces — one overlooking Main and Second streets and another providing views of the Minnesota River Valley to the southeast.
The documents filed with the city don’t include any information on anticipated rent levels or estimated development costs.
The Cohen-Esrey Development Group is seeking zoning changes and preliminary plat approval for “The Neighborhood” — the Kansas-based firm’s ambitious redevelopment of the former municipal public works site north of Cub Foods West.
After a review by city staff, the proposal could go to the Planning Commission as soon as this month.
The two-phase project is to start with the 48-unit Sinclair Flats, with 38 of the apartments reserved for lower-income Mankatoans, some for people making less than 30% of the area median income.
“The design of the building and green space is done to enhance the urban edge, feature the attractive design of the building as one approaches the site, create community gathering spaces, and hide the parking from most views of the site,” wrote Sonya Shifflett-Bly of Cohen-Esrey in a letter to city staff.
“This four-story, elevator serviced building will offer on-site management and maintenance, a community room and business center, storage units, a playground, a community garden, and community green space. Units will offer quality finishes, in-unit washer and dryers, dishwashers, and ceiling fans.”
The first phase may also include a row of “Main Street Townhomes.”
An application for a state grant earlier this year included a proposed work schedule calling for removal of contaminated soils starting in November with the site cleaned up by the end of the year. Site work and construction of the four-story apartment building would begin by March with completion in February 2023.
The application estimated that rents would range from $645 to $1,300 a month.
The second phase of the $36 million redevelopment, which will involve two four-story apartments totaling 64 units of income-based housing for senior citizens, is contingent on Cohen-Esrey being awarded affordable housing tax credits by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency later this year.
Perhaps closest to construction is the 54,000-square-foot Landmark Apartments redevelopment kitty-corner from the proposed Burton Building at the intersection of Second and Main streets.
Jon Kietzer’s $12 million project is poised to receive a conditional-use permit and certificate of design compliance Monday, leaving it only a building permit away from being authorized for construction.
Both the conditional-use permit and the design approval are included on Monday’s council agenda under the “consent calendar,” which is reserved for noncontroversial items generally passed without discussion. Both were recommended for approval by the Planning Commission following a review and public hearing in August.
The redevelopment and expansion of the Landmark Building is to include the region’s first micro-distillery, a cocktail lounge and an event center on the first floor topped by three floors of 33 upscale apartments. Kietzer expects rents to range from $1,500 to $2,500 a month.
City staff found that the building’s design, architectural features, exterior construction materials and color scheme achieve the city’s enhanced design standards for downtown buildings.
The 153 stalls of parking the redevelopment will require was a focus of the conditional-use permit. Kietzer’s plan includes using the heated underground parking beneath the City Center Hotel, which is eventually to be connected to the Landmark Building by a skyway and will have 36 stalls reserved for tenants of the apartment building.
Most of the rest of the required parking will be essentially rented through the municipal parking district from the 442-stall Civic Center Ramp.
The city-owned ramp is connected by a tunnel to the hotel and has more than 300 vacant stalls on a typical weekday, according to the most recent parking study.
Kietzer is also considering asking the council for tax subsidies to cover some of the extra costs associated with redevelopment of an aging downtown building, something that Vogel said would generally come after zoning and permitting issues are finalized.