The Izzy’s Conundrum: Can condos co-exist with light industrial?

Izzy’s is expanding. Owners Jeff Sommers and Lara Hammel plan to build an ice cream factory in Minneapolis. They’ve put in an offer for a city-owned empty lot near the Guthrie Theater. If all goes according to plan, the facility will be up and running by spring 2013. [Pioneer Press, Dec. 16, 2011]

Great! The City of Minneapolis is getting a great locally-owned ice cream shop, right?

Shamrock Development of Coon Rapids said it can’t build its planned 12-story, 150-unit apartment building across from Gold Medal Park if the city follows through on the sale of an adjacent lot to Izzy’s Ice Cream. Shamrock Development believes noise and trucks from the factory would make the new apartments “no longer a viable project.” [Finance & Commerce, Nov. 8, 2011]

It brings up the question: can condos co-exist with light industrial uses?

In the Mill City Times, writer David Tinjum criticizes the proposal as being more a factory than a retail operation and that “Regardless of what is being produced, once approved and constructed it will remain a factory regardless of which company owns the building.  Future owners of the building will not need any approval from the City of Minneapolis for any use allowed under the Minneapolis Zoning Ordinances.” [Mill City Times, Jan. 13, 2012]

In a follow-up piece, Tinjum continues by criticizing the financing behind the project.

[For more in-depth analysis on the number, visit "CPED Needs a New Calculator"]

The numbers certainly look bad for Izzy’s. But, assuming the numbers were equal: would a small, light industrial site be inappropriate for the neighborhood that was, up until about 20 years ago, heavy industry? Does it matter that there are other light-industrial uses nearby?

The Izzy’s conundrum isn’t as easy as the question implies. In this particular situation, the proposed building is drawing some fire. It’s a one-story building that may not have a large retail storefront. Now, it might be premature to criticize the model without seeing more detailed renderings, but the one-story use may be a poor use for land that abuts Minneapolis’ newest park.

Let’s go back to the question; can condos co-exist with light industrial uses?

What are you thoughts? Share them in the comments section below, or if you were interested, make a comment at the thread over at the Minnescraper Forums.