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Concept shows potential for duplexes in downtown Hastings

A concept drawing shows an idea of what four duplexes could look like at the corner of Third and Tyler streets. Image courtesy of the City of Hastings

Lately, the Hastings riverfront has been getting all the attention when it comes to new development. But there’s another project in the works that could bring four new duplexes to the downtown area.

The area in question is the corner of East Third and Tyler streets. The city currently owns a parking lot there, and there’s an old house directly west of that. A developer presented a set of concept drawings to the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority last Thursday that suggested merging the two lots, clearing the existing house and parking lot and replacing them with four two-story duplexes.

The designs showed the duplexes on the four corners of the enlarged lot with a driveway passing through the middle. Each unit was drawn with a two-car garage on the main level connected to a sitting room, with the main living space on the second floor and rooftop decks.

When the city purchased the parking lot property in 1985, the intent was to have it combined with the adjacent parcel and have both of them developed together, Community Development Director John Hinzman told HEDRA commissioners.

The parking lot has 16 to 20 spaces and is used mostly by staff at Mississippi Terrace, Hinzman said. Since the Red Rock Corridor parking lot was constructed across the street, use of the smaller lot has decreased, he added.

The concept review by HEDRA commissioners was the first step in the development process. The question HEDRA had to answer was whether or not the concept looked like something they could support. With HEDRA support, the developer’s next step will be to create a purchase agreement for the purchase of the city’s lot and move forward with formal development plans. A formal site plan would have to be approved by the Hastings Planning Commission and the Hastings City Council before the project could start construction.

Commissioners generally liked the plan.

“That area could definitely use something a little more spectacular than a run-down house and a parking lot,” said Commissioner Pam Holzem.

“I think this is a good thing to do,” said Commissioner Danna Elling Schultz, who also is a City Council member. “We’ve got to start getting some of these areas unblighted.”

Commissioner Michael Kelley also expressed support of the idea, noting that the new housing would be conveniently located to a potential rail or bus station in the same area.

One issue HEDRA discussed was the loss of the parking lot. When Mississippi Terrace was built, the parking lot accounted for a portion of the facility’s parking requirements, Hinzman said. Hinzman suggested the city could provide a letter to Mississippi Terrace that would allow parking in the new parking lot east of Tyler Street to fulfill the parking requirement.