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More apartments in the works

This drawing from Kuepers. Inc. depicts plans for the Westfield Apartments on the southeast corner of the 41st and 42nd Avenue intersection, southwest of Dakota Street in Alexandria.

Alexandria's red-hot residential construction kicked up another notch Monday night.

The Alexandria City Council issued a conditional use permit to Keupers, Inc. to build and operate two 35-unit apartment buildings in a general business zone.

The Westfield Apartments will be located on the southeast corner of the 41st and 42nd Avenue intersection, about 200 feet southwest of Dakota Street in Heritage Industrial Park near Apol's Harley-Davidson.

The project, which will be privately financed, includes one- and two-bedroom units with detached garages, according to the architect, Christopher Raimann. There will also be a community room, theater, designated parcel room, community green space with a playset, and a sheltered space for children to play.

Landscaping plans call for 56 trees to be planted, along with 190 shrubs.

Raimann said the apartments will be marketed to the general population — the elderly, families, students and others.

The lot will be split into two parcels. The plan is to start construction on the first building this June and begin work on the second building within six months.

Kuepers has built similar apartments in Warroad, Hutchinson, Duluth and Fergus Falls, Raimann said. He added they liked the Alexandria location because it's near the city's main corridor, and close to shopping, jobs and other services.

Lonnie Apol, owner of Apol's Harley-Davidson at 1515 42nd Ave. W, expressed concerns about the project to the planning commission and city council. When Apol bought the property, he said he didn't plan on having any residential housing near him. He said there's no entertainment for children in the area, such as parks and ballfields. He was also concerned about the safety of children because of semis and other traffic.

The council approved the project on a 4-1 vote, with Bobbie Osterberg voting no.

It must meet five conditions:

• A building permit is required.

• Two parking stalls per unit are required.

• The buildings must be connected to city water and the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District.

• Any exterior lighting must be hooded and directed away from public streets.

• A final drainage plan must be reviewed by the city engineer.

The Kuepers project is the latest in a string of apartment developments and new homes that have been popping up around the city in the last few years.

In her 2018 report, Building Official Lynn Timm described residential construction in the city as "red hot."

A total of 65 new homes were built — 10 more than the previous year — along with 141 apartment units. Those projects, totalling more than $32 million, accounted for more than half of the total valuation of the building projects that were issued permits through the city.

Two apartment projects by Unique Construction made the top 10 list of the highest valued projects in Timm's report — a three-story, 94-unit development valued at $10.36 million and a three-story 47-unit complex with underground parking valued at $4.7 million. Both of those projects are located in the Woodland Heights area near Woodland Elementary School.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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