Developer proposes 14-story Spicer condo unit
SPICER -- A 14-story condominium building has been proposed to replace the grain elevator in Spicer. Avidigm Capital Group, which is based in Lake Elmo, presented its conceptual plans Tuesday to the Spicer Planning and Zoning Commission for the g...
SPICER -- A 14-story condominium building has been proposed to replace the grain elevator in Spicer.
Avidigm Capital Group, which is based in Lake Elmo, presented its conceptual plans Tuesday to the Spicer Planning and Zoning Commission for the grain elevator property west of state Highway 23. That property is for sale.
Glenn Smogoleski of Spicer, who represented Avidigm, told the commission the development would bring "luxury living" to the community.
The unit would be 186 feet tall at its peak with a maximum of 137 units. A two-level parking ramp would make up the first two stories. The next two levels would be two-story lofts, and the rest of the levels would be single-story condos.
All condos, even those on the first residential level, would have a clear view of Green Lake. The building would exceed the city's height restriction of 60 feet so Avidigm is seeking a variance from that requirement. In comparison, the grain elevator is 134 feet tall. Avidigm's purchase of the property is contingent on receiving the variance.
After hearing Avidigm's presentation Tuesday, the commission set a public hearing on the variance request for 5 p.m. Sept. 29 at City Hall.
One of the main concerns with the height is how the Spicer Fire Department would respond if there was a fire in the building. The department and developer have met to discuss those concerns.
In response to the fire department's request, the developer's architect, Cities Edge Architects of Willmar, proposed an elevated road in the front of the building. The fire department wants access to the front of the building at a level that's high enough to use its aerial trucks.
The building will have a sprinkler system, automated detection systems and voicecontrolled fire alarm systems, said John Hafner, president of Cities Edge Architects.
The developer is also discussing installing a foam system in the parking ramp in case of a car fire. The Spicer Fire Department currently doesn't have a foam pumper, which would cost between $40,000 and $50,000.
Mayor Bill Taylor said the details are still being worked out with the fire department and that they're hoping to have a system set up that would put out any fire.
Commission member Janice Carlson said she wants the plans to go "beyond hope."
Keith Nelson of Terwisscha Construction of Willmar said the building will need to meet specific fire codes.
The condominiums could foster other developer. Avidigm is also considering purchasing Mike's Dock Yard, which is south of the elevator. Shops, such as a salon or small market, could be built there to serve the needs of the condo residents, Hafner said.
Avidigm also would eventually like to have a walking bridge from the condos to the east side of the highway.
The developer also is considering having a marina for the condo residents on two pieces of property it owns near Miller Street on Green Lake. The marina would be able to have a maximum of two docks and eight boat slips.
The overall length of the condominium building -- 432 feet -- would actually be shorter than the space the grain elevator and bins occupy. The building would be 106 feet wide. Its setbacks to the east and west would meet the 25-foot requirement.
The units would vary in size and cost. A plaza deck on the first level would have green space and an enclosure for a pool. Avidigm also plans to have ground level access to the state Department of Natural Resources trail that runs in front of the property.
A storm water retention pond would be constructed south of Mike's Dock Yard, although the pond's size hasn't been determined, Hafner said.
Commission member Riley Nelson asked if neighbors behind the condo building would be concerned with its height.
"I don't think there's a view now with the elevator," Smogoleski said.
Smogoleski said Avidigm's market research shows there is an interest in this type of housing. People who live on the lake now might not be able to maintain their properties as they get older, he said. With the condos, they would still be able to view the lake and stay in the Spicer community, he said.
If the variance is approved, Avidigm would then need site plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission. If that's approved, it could obtain a building permit.
Construction is expected to take 18 months and would start after Avidigm sells a certain percentage of the condos.