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Proposal would turn part of Bloomington hotel into micro apartments

Some of the units would be as small as 350 square feet.

A hotel near the Mall of America and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is hoping to convert 229 of its rooms into apartments. 

The 13-story, 430-room Crowne Plaza Aire hotel at 4 Appletree Square in Bloomington is one of the largest hotels in the Twin Cities, and it is seeking to convert a portion of the hotel into apartments, including some micro and affordable units. 

This comes as needs for housing, especially affordable housing, continue to grow, while the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the travel industry, with many hotels suffering due to lack of travelers and some industry experts saying it'll take more than a year to recover and return to pre-COVID levels. 

According to Bloomington city documents, the proposal would turn more than half the hotel into small studio apartments or "micro" apartments (some as small as 350 square feet) as well as one- and two-bedroom units. It would also reduce the number of hotel rooms to 135 from 430. 

For the 229 apartment units, about 46 units (20%) will be affordable (18 micro-units, 15 alcove units, nine one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units), 35 units (15%) would to affordable to households earning up to 50% of the area median income and 11 units (5%) would be affordable to households earning up to 60% of the area median income, city documents show. 

Crowne Plaza in Bloomington

The proposal isn't requesting any public financial assistance, and according to city documents, city staff is generally supportive of the project and units that are smaller than what's allowed under city code.

That's because tenants will have access to the building's amenities, like the indoor pool, shared common spaces, fitness room, on-site restaurant and bar, rooftop patio and its close proximity to the Metro Transit Light Rail. 

The City Council does have to approve the proposal. The Bloomington Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal during its meeting on Thursday. The project, if given the OK by the commission, would then go to the full Council for a vote. 

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