Developer plans 23-unit apartment building at market price in Cleveland and St. Clair – Twin Cities


At the corner of Cleveland and St. Clair avenues in St. Paul, a developer is looking to demolish a single-storey dry-cleaning store and replace it with 23 apartments spread over two commercial spaces.

The current plan calls for market rate units for retirees and empty nesters, developer Jeremy Exley said, although that may change with the market.

“This is what we are aiming for,” he said. “I think it’s a really good change for the neighborhood. We will keep the same commercial area (as it currently exists), with two different commercial uses instead of just one.

The new five-story mixed-use apartment building across from the ball field at Groveland Elementary School would require zoning differences for square footage, height and parking. In its zoning waiver request, Bloomington-based WEB Developments, LLC said the height of the building at 235 Cleveland Ave. would reach 54.8 feet instead of the 30 feet normally allowed by the city’s zoning.

The developer is planning 24 covered off-street parking spaces, or one per unit plus an additional one, instead of 36-37 spaces. The building’s floor space ratio would be 2.8 instead of 2.

“Due to the significant demolition and site clean-up expenses, a building is proposed that is slightly larger than what is permitted,” reads Exley’s zoning exemption request. “This is a reasonable proposition that fits with the overall city and neighborhood plans.

Exley said bike racks will be installed in front of each parking lot, and he is considering the possibility of elevators for indoor parking lots, which would allow one car to be parked on top of another, thus increasing parking potential and maximizing the use of space.

Exley said he has owned property in Mac-Groveland and Union Park since 2008 and recently completed an eight-unit apartment building on Marshall Avenue just west of Snelling Avenue . “I have a few other projects going on,” Exley said.

The city’s zoning code states that the height of a new building in the “B2 Community Business District” must not exceed 30 feet, but it allows additional height if the building is set back from all property lines. The developer’s plans call for the building back 10 feet to the second floor, which would allow a maximum building height of 40 feet with no variation, depending on demand.

The location, which was previously a gas station in the 1970s, has already been identified as a contaminated site and listed in the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Superfund program. The developer plans to enroll in the MPCA’s brownfield cleanup program, according to the zoning waiver request, which would involve removing contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil.

The demolition of the Roxy’s Dry Cleaners structure would allow access to soil contaminated with old dry cleaning chemicals. “The vendors have been doing the investigative work for a few years, but the problem is that the contamination is under the building,” Exley said.

The St. Paul Zoning Appeal Board has scheduled a public hearing on the zoning exemption applications for March 8.


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