St. Paul neighbors say luxury apartment building would be so close they 'could pass sugar to them'

Along the Mississippi River, a group of St. Paul residents feel like their concerns aren’t being heard, as a developer moves forward with plans that could change the landscape of their neighborhood.

About two dozen homeowners spoke to FOX 9 on Tuesday, making it clear they aren’t pushing back because of effects the development will have on them, but instead because many visitors from around the Twin Cities come to the area to walk, bike or take in the beauty of the Mississippi River.

"A 50-foot building will be out of place here before it’s even completed, and it’s going to be here for the next 60 to 100 years," Kurt Klussendorf, a neighborhood resident, said.

Paster Properties owns an apartment at 706 Mississippi River Boulevard, and recently purchased the First Church of Christ, with plans to tear both down and build a new four-story luxury apartment building.

But neighbors are pushing back against the proposed height of about 50 feet, and the overall size of the project, "I could pass sugar to them over the boundaries, they’re going to be that close," Barb Klussendorf said.

In 2023 new rules go into effect in St. Paul that limit the height of new construction in part of the Mississippi River critical corridor area to 35 feet. Neighbors feel Paster Properties is pushing the project before the building codes change.

"They dropped the ball on this," group leader Wendy Neurer told FOX 9. "They didn’t inform the neighborhood, there was no transparency."

"They haven’t said hold on a minute let’s do a moratorium let’s wait and see," neighbor Tom Adamson said. "They’ve just gone ahead and said let’s get it done and let’s get it done now."

Homeowners also point out that before construction is complete, in just a few months the building would not be allowed. 

They’re asking Paster Properties to scale back its plans to 35 feet, so that future generations can continue to cherish the land and environment surrounding it.

A representative for Paster Properties sent FOX 9 this statement on Tuesday:

"The 706 MRB Project team has worked extensively with city staff in developing the plans for our project. The project meets all existing City of St. Paul zoning requirements and no special considerations from the City are being requested. Additionally, our team has met with the local community and adopted some of the adjustments suggested by the community and the project will continue to take shape over the coming weeks. When completed, we are confident the 706 MRB Project will be additive to St. Paul’s housing stock and become a place residents proudly call home."