Another fight over height, this time involving a 13-story condo building on Lake Calhoun

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Lakeside living sure looks pretty. But if neighboring prices are any guide, these condos will be well beyond most people's checkbooks.

The Denver company surely must have known it bought high. Last year, the developer dropped $8 million -- $3 million more than the assessed value -- for the 1.6-acre parcel at 3100 W. Lake St., which is currently the modest Lake Pointe Corporate Center.

Of course, new owner Brickstone Partners never intended to keep it as is. It wants to raze the existing 50,000 square feet of commercial space, replacing it with what could be 13 stories of rarefied condo living that most residents of the City of Lakes will never be able to afford. 

The 203 units would average under 1,000 square feet. Company spokesperson Matt Sullivan wouldn't speculate on possible asking prices, but listings from the immediate area supply a framework.

Just to the east at 1805 W. Lake St., a two-bedroom, two-bath condo built in 2005 lists for $2.2 million. An '80s-built, 1,800-square-foot unit on West Calhoun Parkway retails for just under $1 million.  

Thirteen floors is just one of three proposals for the site prepared by Brickstone. The others, at six and nine stories, would consist of roughly 205 rental apartments. Under each scenario, the development will include "an abundance of high-end amenities, such as a rooftop pool and fitness and yoga rooms… [and a] gourmet coffee shop and juice bar at street level," according to the developer.     

In any case, Brickstone will have issues no matter which plan it chooses.

The property is zoned for no more than four stories. Moreover, it's entirely located in the Shoreland Overlay District, an added layer of building regulation in place to protect nearby water. Shoreland rules cap construction at no more than 35 feet.  

Brickstone can exceed these limits by receiving conditional use permits from the city.

Tonight, the developer will attempt to cover one base in the process. Brickstone's Dan Otis is scheduled to meet with the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association's land use committee.  

The group has not "determined yet that any of the designs are acceptable, or consistent with the character of the surrounding neighborhood."

Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman, whose western ward captures the spot, reserved comment until listening to feedback from residents.  

Perhaps the nearby landscape provides a template for Brickstone's proposal.

In 1988 a 24-story residential tower was pitched to complement the original Calhoun Beach Club building. The Minneapolis Planning Commission ultimately rejected it. In 1997, KKE architects designed and built a more modest addition that's 12 floors high and only a stone's throw from 3100 W. Lake St.


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