Capital Investment Partners has proposed to build a four-building multi-family development at the corner of Radio and Paulson Roads, adjacent to two other proposed projects. Map courtesy of City of River Falls
Housing, housing, housing

RF Plan Commission green lights next development plan

RIVER FALLS – The River Falls Plan Commission voted Jan. 3 to recommend a general development plan to the city council for a multi-family development located at the southeast corner of Paulson and Radio roads.

The project, called The Current, will develop five acres of the recently approved Thompson annexation, next to a proposed two-family home development and across the street from Saturday Homes proposed townhome development.

The proposal calls for four residential, three-story apartment buildings for a total of 106 units. Each building will hold either 24, 28 or 30 apartments with a mix of surface parking and garages. The units will range from one to three-bedrooms: 52 one-bedroom units, 42 two-bedroom, and 12 three-bedroom. Each unit will have a private deck or patio. The development would also include a fitness center, tot lot, dog park and trails. Construction is expected to begin this summer with completion by fall or winter in 2025.

City Planner Kendra Ellner said the developer, Capital Investment Partners, will build a nature trail connection around the wetland on the east side of the property and a paved trail along Radio Road, connecting to neighboring developments and the planned trail on Paulson Road. This will provide pedestrian and bicycle access to Sterling Ponds Park, Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park and areas south toward downtown River Falls.

The project is estimated to be worth $11.3 million.

Plan Commissioner Patricia LaRue expressed concern about cramming 106 units with this development, 190 with Saturday Townhomes and 86 with Derrick Homes in one area.

“What I’m seeing in my head is this conglomeration of all these buildings and very little open space, other than this wetland which could be made to be very pretty, and that’s what all of these people are going to be using,” LarRue said. A representative on-hand from Capital Investment Partners said the tot lot will also bring about 2,000 square feet of open space, along with 900 square feet planned for a pet park. The wetland is about three-quarters of an acre.

Ellner said the green space counting the wetland far exceeds the open space requirement for a Planned Unit Development.

“The unimproved nature trail around the perimeter that connects to the other development and to the north will connect to the path around the Derrick development stormwater facilities,” Ellner said.

LaRue liked the fact that The Current has two entrances for vehicles.

Plan Commissioner Chris Holtkamp wondered if the city is keeping track of how many three-bedroom units are being built for families.

City Planner Emily Shively said the city doesn’t have that as a particular goal, but it’s encouraging to see that many developers are offering three-bedroom options, which hasn’t been the norm.

“We don’t have a metric or requirement for that kind of mix, so that’s something the developers have been bringing in with their own market studies, to see that there is that demand for family housing in these multi-family projects,” Shively said. “Increased density meets a lot of the city’s goals. So what we want to make sure that we’re doing, is if we don’t have that one-to-one open space ratio, that we’re providing enhanced amenities for residents so that they can have access to open space that’s maybe even more highly designed with additional amenities rather than just simply mown grass.”

Holtkamp said he hopes the new Comprehensive Plan will look at revising the zoning code so developments include more targeted, effective open space.

The city council will vote on The Current’s GDP at its Jan. 24 meeting.

Other business

A permit has been pulled to renovate old Burger King building at 140 Quarry Road into a Dunkin Donuts. The building will be gutted and the interior shell renovated.

The city has received a special use permit application for a self-storage facility at Radio Road and Chapman Drive. The Plan Commission will review the request Feb. 7.

This current project in New Richmond is similar to what the proposed development in River Falls would look like, said City Planner Kendra Ellner. Image courtesy of City of River Falls

January 10, 2023