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Support Sustainable Growth & OPPOSE Proposed Hotel at SE Corner of Lake & Emerson in Mpls

This petition had 492 supporters


Graves Hospitality has proposed a six-story hotel for the southeast corner of Lake St. and Emerson Ave. in Uptown that violates the Uptown Small Area Plan (USAP). The CARAG neighborhood voted overwhelmingly to oppose the project. A hotel in Uptown is a fine idea – for a different, appropriate location. The proposed rezoning, height conditional use permit (CUP), and floor area ratio (FAR) variance would allow for a use, intensity, building height, and building square footage that are out of scale for the parcel and adjacent 2-story residential area.


USAP states: As important as it is for Uptown to grow, it cannot do so in a sustainable manner without simultaneously stabilizing the edges of existing neighborhoods and creating new and improving existing public spaces. The area’s public spaces and neighborhoods are, after all, the foundation for Uptown’s quality of life and desirability. This Plan proposes specific patterns of new growth that can achieve the goals of providing development capacity while simultaneously stabilizing the neighborhoods and improving open spaces and streets.


This is a land use issue: What goes where, development parameters, and upholding city policies for sustainable development. What this issue is NOT about: Wanting a hotel in Uptown, jobs, vacant buildings, gentrification, development/anti-development, walkability, and streetscape features.


The proposed building deviates significantly from USAP which is adopted city policy as part of the city's comprehensive plan. USAP policies call for development of limited, medium height and intensity on this site and on the south side of Lake Street between the Activity Center nodes of Hennepin-Lake and Lyn-Lake (from Bryant to Fremont avenues). The plan calls for concentrating new development, along with height and intensity, in the core of Uptown – the Activity Center, and in the Urban Village north of Lake Street to the Greenway. USAP is important as a shared community vision, adopted by the city, supported as a healthy compromise by both residential and commercial property owners and stakeholders, of how and where the Uptown area should grow. A clearly stated intent of the plan is to enhance and protect both commercial and residential areas of Uptown – in part by providing good buffers and transitions. USAP calls for hotels to be located in the Activity Center. The proposed hotel conflicts with the policies, as well as the spirit and intent, of USAP.


Please join us in opposing the hotel, as proposed, for the following reasons:

  • The proposed rezoning from C2 (Neighborhood Corridor Commercial District) to C3A (Community Activity Center Commercial District) is spot zoning, proposed solely for the hotel use, and not contiguous with a C3A district. C3A zoning is found in and is appropriate for the Hennepin-Lake commercial node and the area to the north between Lake St. and the Greenway.  No other properties with C3A zoning exist on the south side of Lake Street between Aldrich and Fremont avenues. C3A zoning also permits a nightclub – a use USAP prescribes solely for the Activity Center.
  • USAP policies call for buildings up to 4 stories/56' on the south side of Lake St. in this area as a transition between the higher density development designated for the area to the north. The proposed building height is 6 stories/69.5’ and 5 stories/58’.
  • The proposed building is too large for the site in terms of square footage/bulk. It is 122% greater (more than double) than otherwise permitted under the current C2 zoning and 40% greater than otherwise permitted under the proposed C3A zoning.
  • The project conflicts with 5 of the 10 stated purposes of the city's zoning code and fails to conform to many of the city's required findings for the project's land use applications (rezoning, conditional use permit for height, variance for floor-area-ratio).
  • The interests and investments of homeowners and residents of the residential blocks to the south are as important as those of the business sector. USAP is adopted city policy that many residents consider a compact about Uptown development that limits the scale of development on the south side of Lake Street. The proposed 6-story hotel would be harmful to the use and enjoyment of residential properties to the south and would negatively impact neighborhood livability for many CARAG residents.
  • The taller new buildings going up to the northwest of the subject site are exactly what USAP prescribes – concentrating development intensity and taller buildings in the Activity Center and in the Urban Village north of Lake Street. The fact that development is happening according to the plan’s vision and policies is not reason to skirt those policies and prescriptions regarding balance, transitions, buffers, building height, and where to concentrate uses such as hotels.
  • The primary entrance and valet parking at the rear of the proposed building are inappropriate given the Lake Street frontage and the low-density residential uses to the south.
  • There are options for this site other than the proposed hotel and the existing building and parking. There are numerous sites in Uptown in the Activity Center and elsewhere north of Lake St., some of them vacant parcels or parking lots, that would be appropriate for a hotel.

Uptown is a vibrant, growing area with abutting commercial and residential areas. USAP's carefully crafted policies prescribe and direct growth and change in ways that respect and support both residential and commercial areas, with clear delineations and good buffers and transitions. Both areas need to be respected and strong, and supportive of each other – not in conflict. USAP is a clear road map and compact  –  let's follow it.


What you can do:

  • Sign this petition.
  • Write to city planner Kimberly Holien (kimberly.holien@minneapolismn.gov) and city council member Lisa Bender (lisa.bender@minneapolismn.gov) prior to the Feb. 8 Planning Commission meeting and ideally before Feb. 1. Focus on the land use and zoning issues – those are the issues upon which the city must make its decision.
  • Attend the Feb. 8 Planning Commission public hearing and consider speaking against the project (4:30 P.M. at City Hall).
  • Stay tuned to find out the date of the public hearing at the City Council's Zoning & Planning Committee (of which CM Bender is chair).
  • Share on your FaceBook page.


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