Three apartments proposals heading towards Golden Valley City Council vote

Approving three apartment projects could make for crowded agenda for the Golden Valley City Council’s Dec. 18 meeting.

The city’s planning commission hosted two informal public hearings about two of the proposed market-rate apartment buildings during its Nov. 26 meeting. These two, combined with another (discussed by the commission Nov. 5) will be up for a council vote Tuesday, Dec. 18.

The projects are The Tiburon, a six-story, 142-unit market rate apartment building proposed for Olson Memorial Highway, and The Colonnade, a 173-unit market-rate apartment building proposed for the southeast corner of Xenia Avenue and Golden Hills Drive.

The Tiburon project was granted final commission approval during the meeting. According to City Planner Joe Hogeboom, changes originally requested by the commission were included in the final version (which still needs city council approval before construction can begin). It will head back for final council approval Dec. 18.

“One was a sidewalk connection to the front door from the road,” Hogeboom said. “Another was reconfiguring the parking lot for more landscaping in front … and integration with the landscaping features to match a current city lilac-planting initiative.”

The commission also endorsed a tax-increment financing district for the Tiburon project and the surrounding area. Golden Valley’s Housing Redevelopment Authority could approve creation of the district sometime in December.

The Nov. 26 meeting was the first to discuss The Colonnade. Two residents from neighborhood expressed concerns about traffic. Hogeboom said the city did a traffic study of the area and is working with MnDOT to maximize efficiency in the Golden Hills Drive-Xenia Avenue intersection. The Colonnade is up for preliminary council approval Dec. 18.

Finally, preliminary plans for the 3.9.4 Apartments, a combination six-story, 308-unit market-rate apartment and 118-unit market-rate senior living facility (with memory care and assisted living) were unanimously approved after more than three hours of public discussion and debate during the Nov. 5 planning commission meeting.

“There wasn’t so much debate as there were strong recommendations from the planning commission,” Hogeboom said. “There were about 15 neighbors that got up and spoke, and what it boiled down to was that the Planning Commission recommended the developer take another look at the driveway.”

If Metropolitan Council estimates are correct, Golden Valley could gain several thousand people within the next decade. This could create a bit of a problem, as the majority of land in Golden Valley is almost built out. Hogeboom says demand currently exists for higher-end multi-family housing.

“We’re told that this is a very strong market in that particular area,” he said. “It ties into not only the downtown Minneapolis market, but also the St. Louis Park-Uptown area. We definitely think demand would be there.”

Golden Valley doesn’t have an apartment development that features senior care, Hogeboom said.

The 3.9.4 Apartments’ developers are planning a phased development, with construction of the senior building and the western portion of the market-rate apartments starting this spring. The eastern portion of apartments could be built as early as next fall.

The Tiburon is headed for final council approval, and The Colonnade and 3.9.4. Apartments are up for preliminary council approval. Even if the latter two are approved, there are still more steps in the process, Hogeboom said.

“We have a preliminary process and a final process, and in a nutshell, the preliminary approval is for the concept and the final approval is approval of specific design. “They kind of overlap a bit. But if (Tiburon and Colonnade) get approval on Dec. 18, it means the council has approved the concept, but the developer would still have to go before the Planning Commission and city council again.”