Development is spreading down Snelling Ave in St. Paul. The corner of Selby and Snelling Ave has transformed in recent years with the development of the Whole Foods and Vintage on Selby, and only more change is coming. It was recently announced that the iconic O'Gara's Bar and Grill will become a street-side pub with 163+ apartment units above; project details were shared in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Now, down the road past Macalester College, there's another proposal for more apartments that has neighbors concerned, as reported in the Star Tribune. The proposal is for a development with 118 apartments plus combined underground and surface lot parking. The developer had to request a conditional use permit due to variances in height from the city's set limits. Last night, the city council granted the conditional use permit, in spite of vocal neighborhood opponents, as reported in the Pioneer Press.
Neighbors fear the new development will drastically alter the neighborhood feel and introduce more traffic than the area can handle. The Pioneer Press article shared that one project opponent made the point that the proposed parking spots amount to less than 1 spot per unit, meaning more street parking crowding. It's clear that planners hope more residents will be opting for public and alternate transit – they're including a bus monitor in the lobby and an on-site bike repair station (as shared in the Strib article). That's not to say that all neighbors opposed the plans. There's a healthy contingent that understands the situation the city is dealing with – a fast-approaching housing shortage – and is willing to accept change in order to hopefully head-off the crisis.
The city is undergoing a metamorphosis. The development of the former Ford plant site in Highland Park and Allianz Field with its "superblock" in the Midway neighborhood are lightning rods for both density debates and discussions regarding the city's outlook. Yes – the city wants to promote walkability and livability, but it also wants to be a major destination city with unique experiences. The city's Snelling-Midway Master Plan is quite compelling, with visions of top-notch amenities paired with drastically improved walkability and appearance. It's a plan to not just transform the land immediately surrounding the stadium but also inspire further (re)development and improve the Midway area as a whole. We see you, St. Paul.
Photo By Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Metro Green Line Train, St. Paul, Minnesota, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61578319