Developer Alatus will seek to overturn the Saint Paul Planning Commission’s rejection of its site plan for a six-story apartment building at 411-417 N. Lexington Pkwy. on March 17. The Saint Paul City Council will hear Alatus’ appeal at 3:30 p.m. on that Wednesday.

Alatus’ mixed-use Lexington Station development has the support of the Union Park District Council (UPDC) land use committee. The $59 million project is opposed by the Summit-University Planning Council and the Frogtown Neighborhood Association.

Opponents argue that the project does not meet the goals in the city’s comprehensive plan for affordable housing. They would like to see lower rents in the building and claim the current plan would negatively impact the surrounding area by driving up rents and property taxes and driving out longtime
residents.

Supporters contend that Lexington Station would bring much needed new housing to the city and that there is no legal basis to reject the site plan.

Lexington Station
Alatus’ plan for the 288-unit Lexington Station development on a long-vacant parcel at 411-417 N. Lexington Pkwy.

Lexington Station would have 288 alcove, studio, one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments, 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 254 structured parking spaces. Half of the apartments would be affordable to families making no more than 60 percent of the Twin Cities area’s median income.

“If your family income is $35,800, we will have a space saved for you,” said Chris Osmundson, director of development for Alatus, who met with the UPDC committee on
February 22.

The Lexington Station site is in the Union Park district, but just a stone’s throw from the Summit-University, Frogtown and Hamline-Midway districts. UPDC board and committee member Dan Elenbaas said that he and his neighbors who walk to Green Line light-rail station at Lexington and University Avenue are eager to see development on the site. “Everyone I talk to is looking forward to having something there,” he said.

 

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“If our expectations are sky-high, we will never get anything built here,” said committee member Rob Vanasek.

“If our expectations are sky-high, we will never get anything built here,” said committee member Rob Vanasek.

UPDC is encouraging Alatus to consider making some apartments affordable to households making 30 percent of the Twin Cities area’s median income. Osmundson did not reject the request, but said Alatus’s efforts to receive the city’s assistance with affordable housing “has not been fruitful.”

SUPC board members said on February 23 that there has not been enough neighborhood involvement in the project planning process. They expressed fears about gentrification and a development that will not benefit the
surrounding area.

City staff has recommended approval of the Lexington Station site plan on the condition that plans for landscaping, sewers, utilities and traffic plans are approved by city officials.

— Jane McClure

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