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Minneapolis Considers Conversion of Grain-Silo Building to Self-Storage

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Minneapolis officials are considering a rezoning request that would allow property owner Adam Mackie to convert a nearly 90-year-old grain-silo building into self-storage. The triangular, 0.78-acre lot is currently zoned for residential uses, but Mackie wants to convert the ground floor into 33 storage units until he can pursue a mixed-used development that would also feature multi-family housing on the property and surrounding lots, according to the source.

The planning commission voted 7-1 on Monday to recommend rezoning the property to light industrial with an industrial-living overlay district, which would allow industrial and residential uses, the source reported.

When Mackie purchased the abandoned grain-silo building last year for $23,000, he was the only bidder. The property at 3333 41st St. E. has a history of tax foreclosure. Although Mackie bought the structure with the intention to convert it to apartments, reusing the silos without major investment or public subsidies is difficult, according to city documents. Mackie has lost money on the property since he’s owned it, the source reported.

Raising the site may also not be an option. A county study indicates demolition and clearing would cost about $2 million, and the structure would have to be evaluated for historical significance before it could be torn down, according to the source.

The self-storage project would enable Mackie to “create some money to do maintenance, security and pay the taxes on this previously tax-forfeited property,” Carol Lansing, an attorney with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP and representing Mackie, told the commission. “The most likely long-term solution will be to assemble the rest of the parcels on that block, maybe do the housing component there and see if there’s a feasible complementary reuse of the silos.”

Although commissioner Ryan Kronzer said he wanted to see a more detailed site plan before deciding on a recommendation, commissioner Sam Rockwell argued it would be more problematic for the city to leave the property vacant.

“The history of the site, with only one bidder and a history of tax foreclosure, makes me worried that we’re just going to head back down that route,” Rockwell said during the meeting. “I’m not crazy about mini-storage right next to a train station, but I think some use is better than no use.”

Several multi-family developments are either being planned or underway in the surrounding area, the source reported.

The zoning and planning committee is scheduled to discuss the rezoning request on Aug. 11. The city council is expected to vote on the issue on Aug. 19.

Sources:

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