Carl Runck from Ryan Companies, developer Luigi Bernardi and architect Paul Whalan, a partner with the New York City based Robert A.M. Stern Architects, presented the project to the DMNA Land Use Committee on March 6. In addition, the DMNA Board hosted a public forum on the project at its board meeting on March 19. Runck, Bernardi and Ryan Companies Director of Design Josh Ekstrand gave a similar presentation as was given to the Land Use Committee.
Runck from Ryan Companies explained that Bernardi is proposing the project for the surface parking lot between Padilla and the American Red Cross Building on West River Parkway. He stated that the concept plan calls for a narrow tower atop a six-story podium that will include about 3,000 square feet of retail on West River Parkway.
Runck and Ryan Companies Director of Design Josh Ekstrand presented the preliminary site plan. They highlighted the following aspects of the project:
- The project would be 39-stories and include 101 luxury units. There will also be space for guest suites and offices.
- The smallest units in the building as planned will have about 1,600 square feet. All the units will have at least two bedrooms, and there will not be more than five units per floor.
- There would be at least two parking spaces per residential unit and parking available to adjacent business. Parking would also be open to the public during evenings and weekends, which could benefit visitors to the Guthrie Theater.
- The exterior of the building will be clad in limestone.
Runck concluded by stating that they would like to begin construction on the project by the end of this year with occupancy in the spring of 2021.
the DMNA Land Use Committee has recommended providing a letter of support for the preliminary concept plan for Eleven for the following reasons:
- The project complies with the zoning for the site.
- The project also fulfills a neighborhood preference for more owner-occupied housing.
- The project meets extremely high architectural and construction standards.
- The building height is consistent with the Carlyle, an existing riverfront residential building. The two residential towers will serve as bookends for riverfront development in Downtown East.
- The project provides ample parking for residents and adjacent building tenants. The parking will also be available to the public after hours, which will benefit other neighborhood activities and the Guthrie Theater.
In an effort to provide more opportunities for public comment regarding this project, the DMNA invited Ryan Companies and Mr. Bernardi to make their presentation again at the board meeting on March 19. Many residents from adjacent buildings, including the Stonebridge and the Bridgewater, as well as future residents of the Legacy attended to hear the presentation and provide feedback. The consistent theme expressed by neighborhood residents relates to the cumulative impact that new residential development in this part of Downtown East has caused on traffic congestion and pedestrian safety. There is concern that while the traffic impact of the Eleven alone will not be significant, it will add to an existing problem that the neighborhood would like to see addressed.
Many residents suggested that a stoplight on 12th Avenue and Washington Avenue with a left-hand turn signal would help alleviate some of the traffic problems occurring during morning and evening rush hours. Additionally, neighborhood residents who are active Gold Medal Park users felt strongly that the City should improve pedestrian crossing safety at the intersection of 2nd Street and 10th Avenue South.
At the conclusion of the March 19, public forum and discussion, the DMNA Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the recommendation of the Land Use Committee to endorse the preliminary concept plan for the Eleven project.
The Land Use Committee and Board anticipate that Ryan Companies and Mr. Bernardi will return to the Land Use Committee meeting on May 1, to further discuss and seek feedback on details of the project. The DMNA is hopeful that someone from Public Works can attend an upcoming Land Use Committee meeting to address the traffic concerns, perhaps on May 1, in coordination with Ryan Companies update.