There's a chance Edina could become the home of a 32-story luxury high rise that would tower over east Edina and west Richfield and easily dwarf the tallest building currently in either city.
The 300-unit luxury apartment proposal was presented to the Edina City Council Tuesday night. The idea would see the building built on the south side of Life Time Edina at Southdale, adjacent to York Avenue and on the land owned by Simon Property Group, which operates Southdale Mall.
Dubbed "Life Time Living at Southdale", it would become one of a handful of luxury apartments operated by the health and wellness brand, with others in suburban Miami, Las Vegas and Dallas, and development plans for Boston and New York City.
"I think there's some cache in being up there with Las Vegas and Coral Gables and Chicago, I guess, a town our size," said Edina Mayor James Hovland. "Not that that would influence us on our decision-making process,"
Life Time's Eric Padget referred to the building as "iconic," saying it would attract both locals and people from around the country, many of whom might consider it a second home.
The average apartment size would be approximately 1,300 square feet, and at a cost of about $3.50 per square foot, the monthly lease agreements would be about $4,550. Penthouse suites midway up the building on the northwest and southwest corners would cost more.
The building, at an estimated cost of $113 million, would be privately funded.
Life Time Living at Southdale
It would come with about 450 parking spaces, including 85 spaces available to the public. Surrounding the building would be just over 1.5 acres of green space that also would be open to the public. The green space would provide space for improved walking paths in addition to outdoor amenities, with ESG Architects' Christine Pecard suggesting pickleball courts and other activity areas.
The 18-story Westin Edina Galleria, which rises 236 feet off the ground at the corner of York Ave. and 69th St. just south of Southdale Mall, is the tallest building in Edina today.
Beyond being 32 floors, the building's specific height wasn't addressed. But depending on the height of each floor, one could presume the building to be up to 375 feet tall. Bring Me The News has reached out to Life Time for a specific height.
"I need to think through the height thing. It looks like it just dwarfs everything that's out there," Edina Mayor James Hovland said. "I'm not saying I'm against it, I'm just telling you I need to think about it."
At the very top of the tower would be a skyroom and outdoor terrace.
Only two of the 30 tallest buildings in Minnesota are outside of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and those are the 8500 Tower in Bloomington, which is 381 feet tall, and Broadway Plaza in Rochester, which stands 342 feet tall. The tallest building in Minnesota is the IDS Center in Minneapolis at 792 feet.
Life Time claims it conducted a study to determine how the towering building would shadow residential and commercial areas around it. Pecard said the worst shadowing would be during the late winter months, namely in late January when the building casts a shadow that "barely nicks residential homes."
Building multiple apartment buildings instead of a tower is an option, but not Life Time's preference, for a multitude of reasons.
"If you were to do smaller buildings, you're looking a the expense of three separate buildings," said Pecard. "The amount of green space that we're proposing would simply not be possible if we had four parcels and multiple buildings."
Padgett noted that the luxury appeal would bring big redevelopment opportunities to Southdale Mall, suggesting that the project would attract a high-end grocery store and new retail tenants at the mall.
Council member James Pierce, who said he needs to think on the issue, wondered if building a massive tower now would lead to an Edina skyline in the future. Fellow councilman Ron Anderson didn't shoot down the proposal, but said building a 32-story tower so close to residential areas is "unacceptable."