Three units proposed for ‘odd’ commercial lot on Carroll Avenue

By Jane McClure

The Saint Paul Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit and variances on October 2 to allow a Merriam Park commercial property at 1725 Carroll Ave. to be converted to three units of housing.

Union Park District Council (UPDC) members had earlier expressed appreciation for the efforts to reuse the property. The council’s Zoning Committee unanimously recommended approval of the permit and variances on September 24.

“It’s an odd site,” said Planning Commissioner Ann deJoy. “I think there are some real challenges to reusing this site.” 

   

Constructed in 1926, the one-story rectangular building sits on a triangular-shaped lot adjacent to railroad tracks and Aldine Park. It was rezoned for small-scale multifamily use from commercial use during the 1970s, and was previously used as warehouse and office space.

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A drawing of Michael Allen’s plan to convert a brick commercial building into a duplex and build a third unit above a new three-stall garage at 1725 Carroll Ave.

“It’s an odd site,” said Planning Commissioner Ann deJoy. “I think there are some real challenges to reusing this site.” 

Michael Allen purchased the building a few years ago. He used it for a time for his All Energy Solar business, which recently moved to the Energy Park neighborhood.

 

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“I’d like to renovate the building as a home for my family,” Allen said. He wants to convert the brick building into a duplex and build a third unit above a new three-stall garage. A surface parking spot is planned for a fourth vehicle.

Allen said the building has required extensive cleanup, but is solid. His family currently lives in the Snelling-Hamline neighborhood. “We’re excited about the project and the ability to stay in the area,” he said.

The conversion required a conditional use permit for a cluster development, which is intended to preserve open space. The project also needed a variance from a 25-foot front-yard setback normally required for residential buildings; zero feet was approved. It also required a 25-foot rear setback for the building and new garage and dwelling; 2-4 feet were approved. Lot coverage of 41 percent was also approved, a variance from the 35 percent maximum normally allowed.

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