A proposal to build a 239-unit apartment complex along Eden Prairie Road north of Smith Coffee & Café was approved Tuesday, Dec. 7, by the Eden Prairie City Council, even as the council pledged to look at design changes that would make the building more attractive.
Between now and the council’s final approval in January or February, the council wants city staff and the developer, United Properties, to reconsider the colors and building materials proposed for the 349,800-square-foot building to create “a new look,” as Council Member PG Narayanan put it.
The current colors and building materials meet city code, but several council members said the building has a stark, industrial look to it.
Chief among them was Mayor Ron Case, who said the large, off-white or cream-colored panels used for a portion of the building would give it “a modernistic, abstract kind of look. It just feels cold.”
Those comments echo the view of nearby resident Donald Hanson, a retired college professor who says United Properties missed the mark by not using building colors that reflect Eden Prairie’s natural beauty, such as yellows and browns.
It’s possible the plan approved Tuesday will also receive final approval, unchanged, but the council directed that a couple of alternatives be cobbled together by staff and the developer over the coming weeks.
The council said it likes other parts of the plan, including a “green roof” aspect for portions of the building, the dozen electric-vehicle charging stations built into the project, and the fact that about 20 percent of the units will be set aside for rents that meet affordability criteria.
The four-story building where Lincoln Lane now exists would be called The Ellie after Elizabeth Fries Ellet, the East Coast writer credited with giving Eden Prairie its name after visiting the area and calling it the garden spot of the territory.