For now, Lowry Grove developer says he won’t sue St. Anthony

At the moment, Brad Hoyt is not planning to sue the City of St. Anthony. 

In a Nov. 15 statement, Hoyt, the owner and president of The Village, LLC, which owns the property where the Lowry Grove mobile home park used to be, said he and the company are not “considering any legal action against the City of St. Anthony at this time.”

The Village’s development proposal for Lowry Grove was rejected by the St. Anthony City Council at its Oct. 10 meeting over concerns about the development’s density.

Hoyt has sued two cities, Minneapolis and Wayzata, after development proposals through another of his development companies, Continental Property Group, were voted down by each city council. 

 

Height issues

Neither suit ended in success for Hoyt. The Minneapolis case, after going through appeals in 2011, ultimately found Minneapolis city council member Lisa Goodman acted unfairly and ordered the Minneapolis city council to give Hoyt another shot at a proposal. But Hoyt was not given the $11 million in damages for which he initially sued. 

Before a final appeals ruling, Hoyt was awarded the out-of-pocket money he’d spent on the lawsuit, which totaled $523,000. Minneapolis was on the hook for that until a Minnesota Court of Appeals reversal, according to City Pages. 

Hoyt lost the lawsuit against the City of Wayzata in 2015, forcing him to move forward with different development proposals, according to the Lakeshore Weekly News. 

Hoyt’s Minneapolis legal battle was over a zoning variance. He wanted to build a building in the Loring Hill neighborhood that was too high for the zoning code. Minneapolis city staff recommended the council reject a zoning variance to allow the taller building. The Minneapolis City Council followed the staff directive, voting down the development proposal. Hoyt sued. 

The Wayzata City Council approved a three-story development proposal from Hoyt’s Continental Property Group in 2005. Hoyt returned to the city with a five-story expanded proposal for the property and two adjacent parcels, according to the Weekly News. The area was zoned for three-story buildings, so the Wayzata council rejected the five-story proposal, according the Star Tribune. Hoyt sued. 

 

‘Dirty work’

Lowry Grove was purchased by The Village, LLC, for $6 million in 2016. Hoyt proposed putting five apartment-like buildings and townhomes on the property. The plan passed planning stages, progressing to the point that Lowry Grove residents were cleared out beginning in the summer of 2016 for anticipated construction. However, the proposal was causing residents and city council members concerns over a jump in the area’s housing density. 

Hoyt re-worked the proposal, eliminating more than 100 units from the original 700-unit proposal and lowered planned building heights. Nevertheless, City Manager Mark Casey and city staff recommended the council deny the proposal, and it was voted down unanimously Oct. 10.

In the days after the St. Anthony council’s decision, signage appeared at the former Lowry Grove site stating it was poised to once again be a manufactured housing community, with a phone number for reservations. Hoyt said in a statement then that the park would be reopened, and took aim at the St. Anthony council, saying it “used us to do their dirty work, accomplishing their goal of evicting the mobile home and RV residents from St. Anthony.”

He struck a more conciliatory tone in an Oct. 18 interview, which he’s maintained a month later.

In his Nov. 15 statement, Hoyt said he and The Village “are working in good faith with the city [to] try to come to an agreement that will be satisfactory to both sides.”

Furthermore, Hoyt expressed confidence that both parties will come to an understanding.

What will happen to the Lowry Grove site is an open question, but for now, it doesn’t appear to involve litigation.


 

Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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