By Anne Holzman
In a 3-2 vote, the Falcon Heights City Council has approved a revised plan for erecting a new apartment building next to the Amber Union apartments at Snelling and Larpenteur avenues.
When Buhl Group purchased the old TIES building from the city, the developer also acquired the parking lot area west of it. Buhl has renovated the former TIES building, renamed it Amber Union and filled it with tenants.
Now Buhl is seeking to build Amber Flats, adjacent to Amber Union, which has 125 apartments.
The first Amber Flats proposal was turned down last spring due to neighbors’ and council members’ concerns about parking and population density in the area.
Buhl worked with the Planning Commission and came back on Dec. 13 with a revised proposal, reducing the number of units by four to 96 and adding parking spaces to reach 121.
Buhl representatives also told the council they would add parking safety features, including a stop sign and speed bumps, to the existing lot.
Councilmembers Eric Meyer, Yakasah Wehyee and Jim Wassenberg voted in favor of the revised Planned Unit Development (PUD) for Amber Flats. Councilmember Melanie Leehy and Mayor Randy Gustafson voted no.
City Administrator Jack Linehan said it is hard to predict a timeline, but speculated that the developer’s likely next step is to assemble financing for the proposed housing.
Anne Holzman is a freelance writer who covers Falcon Heights government news for the Bugle.