REX26 | A new life for an urban corner

Rendering from the corner of 26th St and Lyndale Ave S | Minneapolis Planning Commission

The Whittier neighborhood is about have an abundance of life brought back to what currently is a bleak corner on one of the city's busiest roads.

REX26 is the name for a project planned at the corner of 26th Street and Lyndale Avenue South. The 4 story mixed-use building would house 100 residential units and 18,982 square feet of retail space. It would be a great addition to the surrounding area as the retail space is planned to house a full service grocery store.

The site was originally home to the Rex Hardware store which was constructed in 1914 and stood for nearly 100 years. In 2011 the building, after many years of neglect, was demolished and the has since then sat vacant except for a few public gardens.

Exterior of REX26 | Minneapolis Planning Commission

Plans were announced late last fall for Rex26, a new mixed-use development that would be constructed on the vacant corner along with the sites of four adjacent houses. The formal plans for the development will go before the city planning commission at their April 14th meeting.

The most recent plans show a four story building that stands 167' 2" tall. Designed by RSP Architects, the building facade makes use of modern materials such as metal and brick, along with large spans of glass. Apartment units on the upper four floors will also include balconies. 

While some may look at the design of the building as too modern and out of touch with the neighborhood, we think it actually could set a very good precedent for future buildings that will undoubtedly line the avenue. At five stories tall the structure takes into account the surrounding low-rise buildings and strays away from the standard maximum 6 story height that developers are able to achieve in Minneapolis wooden construction. The design also aims to utilize "blocks" making the building appear as separate buildings, instead of one large hulking mass.

First Floor retail space showing grocery tenant | Minneapolis Planning Commission

Now regarding that full-service grocery store that would be brought to the neighborhood. The developer "accidentally" mentioned Aldi as the grocer to occupy the ground floor space when the plans were originally presented in the fall. Since then no official retailer has been announced and the idea of Trader Joe's opening in the space have been shot down (the two companies are part of the same family).

If approved by the planning commission, construction on the project would begin this summer. With a 13 month construction time frame the project would be complete by late summer 2017 with the main floor retailer opening most likely in the Fall.