New parking ramp, apartments planned next to United Labor Centre

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Plans are moving forward to construct a new 269-vehicle parking ramp and a mixed use building with 81 apartment units on what is now the parking lot for the United Labor Centre.

The Labor Temple Association — the union partnership which owns the United Labor Centre — is the moving force behind the project.

The total cost of the proposed development is $23-24 million, reported Ray Waldron, secretary-treasurer of the Labor Temple Association and former president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

Waldron said the need for more parking for the United Labor Centre is driving the project, which is being called “The 155” for its street address, 155 University Ave. SE.

The 155 proposal passed the Minneapolis Planning Commission unanimously December 3 and is headed for Minneapolis City Council review in January.

As proposed, the 155 would be a six-story mixed-use building located just east of the United Labor Centre at 312 Central Ave. The two buildings would be separated by a small landscaped plaza with outdoor seating. The new building would contain 81 dwelling units, a parking ramp shared with the Labor Centre, and new drive-through lanes for Union Bank.

“The Labor Temple will own the parking ramp and the 312 Central building,” Waldron explained, while a partner in the development would own 155 University.

Waldron said the Labor Temple Association aims to attract another union investor as a partner, perhaps a union pension fund. “We’re trying to keep it in the labor movement,” he said.

The Labor Temple Association has selected a developer for the project, Ivy Properties. “In a best case scenario, we would break ground April 1,” said Steve Dunbar, project coordinator for Ivy. “It would be a 14-month construction period.”

“We think it will be a great asset to the community and we’re happy it will be 100 percent union construction work,” Dunbar said.