Monarch Development/Downtown Parking Lot

Monarch Development/Downtown Parking Lot

An artist rendering of a building.

Proposed Project
Monarch Development Partners, LLC proposed to develop a new mixed-use apartment development and structured parking facilities on 0.63 acres in downtown Victoria. The property is guided in the
City of Victoria's 2040 Comprehensive Plan as Downtown Mixed-Use. The proposed project is aligned with the City's Comprehensive Plan, adopted Downtown Master Plan (2016) and Strategic Plan and is set to deliver expanded public parking, new commercial/retail space and housing. 

The developer anticipates that it will include up to 73 units of market-rate multi-family apartments (4-5 stories), amenities, and private structured parking for the private residential development owned by Monarch. There would also be two levels of well-lit structured public parking owned by the City of Victoria. The ground level would include a 6,000 sq ft of commercial shell space owned by Rich Gannon,  an adjacent property owner. 

The Developer is proposing a project which provides 196 parking stalls in total on the site. This would be broken down between stalls required for residential and commercial uses on site, as well as public parking stalls. Based on the recent proposal as of March 20, 2023, the developer is expected to double the amount of existing public parking spots currently on the site. 

Monarch Development 

Community Needs 
Rental Units, Public Parking, Commercial Space 

The proposed lots include 7942 Quamoclit Street and a City-owned parking lot at 7928 Quamoclit Street.  

Project Status 
Concept Review Steps Featuring Sketch Plat
The Monarch Development Sketch Plan Review went before Council in March 2023. Council gave feedback on the project and identified areas for improvement.
Learn more about the 3-step concept review process. 

Public Engagement 
The next opportunity to provide input during a public meeting would ordinarily be during the public hearing that occurs at Preliminary Plat Review.  Given the Developer has not formalized an application, no such opportunity is presently scheduled. Sign up for City Council Meeting notifications to receive upcoming agenda information. 

Project Resources 

Victoria Development Footer Button for Development ProjectsVictoria Development Footer_Button Comprehensive PlanVictoria Development Footer Button Upcoming Meetings

Victoria_Planning_Commission_Icon-01 City of Victoria Community & Economic Development Department
Guidance to residents and businesses to ensure that development is consistent with the City’s zoning regulations and its comprehensive plan vision for our community is provided by the City of Victoria Community & Economic Development Department.
Development Review Process
How does the development review process work at the City of Victoria?

Pre-application meetings occur between the City and the developer before moving into the three-stage concept review process (sketch, preliminary, and final) for development where the City ensures that every project is considered fairly and follows the same process. Each stage has opportunities for plan review by the public, relevant advisory boards, and Victoria’s City Council. Learn more about the development review process. 

Through strategic planning outlined in the City of Victoria's 2040 Comprehensive Plan and strategic plans, the City works to enhance Victoria as it builds on its foundation as a wonderful place to live, work, and play. The City regulates land use in alignment with the Comprehensive Plan as well as focuses on ensuring a diverse housing stock for residents and creating a vibrant business community. Current and proposed development projects include housing and business mixed-use projects, as well as multiple housing projects. 

What is the status of this proposed project?

The Monarch Development Sketch Plat Review went before the Victoria City Council in March 2023. The Council gave feedback on the project and identified areas for improvement. No formal decisions are made during the Sketch Plat step of the review process. The Developer can take the information gathered during the Sketch Plat review and use it to inform their next application for the preliminary plat review, step 2 of the 3-step review process. 

At this time, nothing has been voted upon by the City Council in regards to the proposed project. Information on this page is provided to increase transparency on the details of the project as presented by the developer and the City’s development review process and tools. 

Parking Lot Redevelopment
Why is the City interested in redeveloping its parking lot?

During the creation of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, and as a recommendation from the 2019 parking study, community members and stakeholders agreed that while parking is a need in downtown Victoria, the creation of a parking structure should be pursued through redevelopment and the use of tax increment financing as it offers a feasible way to construct the project without directly levying existing taxpayers. Further, the vibrancy of downtown would be enhanced.

A standalone, city-owned public parking ramp would need to be paid for through several options, like an increase in property taxes or the creation of a special services district that would be requested by and paid for by businesses within that district. Other funding options available to cities in Minnesota could be local government aid and local option sales tax.  The City of Victoria does not receive local government aid so this would not be an option for our community.  Additionally, in 2022, the State legislature placed a two-year moratorium on local option sales taxes so this funding tool would not be considered during the 2024 or 2025 legislative sessions.

A standalone parking structure may also detract from the unique character of downtown Victoria. By placing the parking structure within a development, the City can capture the higher property value to fund the public parking expansion.   

A mixed-use development also increases the area’s economic opportunities and commercial potential. These types of developments attract different types of businesses from small shops to cafes, from offices to studios, and create a pool of workers who live and work in the same area and a market of customers that feed directly into the local economy as they can easily access food, retail, services, and entertainment. 

Who would own the new public parking structure?

For the Developer to construct the project, an agreement would need to be put in place for them to have temporary site control during construction. Once complete, the City of Victoria would retain ownership and control of the public parking structure.

In March 2022, the Council agreed to explore public parking expansion through redevelopment of Mr. Gannon’s property and the adjacent City-owned parking lot. During a Sketch Plat Review workshop, as an example, the developer suggested that the City sell them the City-owned lot for $1 which would allow the developer to have temporary site control during construction. Upon completion of the project, the public parking structure would be conveyed or donated back to the City and the City of Victoria would retain ownership of the public parking. The details of how to establish site control is still in discussion. The City Council’s March 20th workshop agenda report states, “structured public parking [would be] owned by the City of Victoria”.  Additionally, this same staff report provides additional information about the city-owned public parking that is being proposed with this concept: 

City-Owned Public Parking Area - “The Developer is proposing to fully construct the project, including the portions of the parking structure that are to be conveyed back to the City with what the Developer is proposing through a Vertical Registered Land Survey ("VRLS") upon completion. The Developer also proposes that a Reciprocal Easement and Operating Agreement (REOA) between the City, Monarch and Rich Gannon would be used for ongoing maintenance and capital reserves. This project presents an opportunity for the City to design and program the parking area in a manner that best serves the public. As currently proposed, the parking area will maximize parking stall counts accessed from Randy's Way and Quamoclit Street, but the public parking area can be reallocated to various purposes such as electric vehicle charging stations or dedicated public bicycle parking.” 

Parking Impact
How does the City of Victoria work to create a balance between the quaint charm of downtown Victoria with parking availability? 

A parking taskforce convened in 2018/2019 to conduct a parking study. The committee was comprised of Victoria residents, businesses, downtown property owners, planning commission members and council members. The study found that people are choosing to visit downtown Victoria because of its charm, character, businesses, and entertainment uses. Too much emphasis on parking (i.e. replacing buildings with parking lots) can negatively impact the unique qualities (e.g. walkability and charm) Downtown Victoria has to offer, resulting in a less desirable place to visit.  

As opportunities to further develop and redevelop downtown arise, the Council is trying to find the balance with providing parking and supporting development and redevelopment that aligns with the City’s vision of promoting downtown as a vibrant and desirable sense of place. The parking study recommends that future parking decisions should minimize adverse land use patterns and priority should be given to the pedestrian experience over parking by supporting connected sidewalks and development patterns that foster positive downtown experiences. This strategy also aligns with City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan and 2016 Downtown Master Plan, both of which were developed with significant community input.  

In the summer of 2022, the City conducted additional analysis on parking. The 2022 analysis was consistent with the findings in the 2019 parking study which concluded in part: 1) there is not a parking supply issue during the morning or afternoon hours downtown, 2) there is heavy parking demand during the evening hours in select locations but the downtown district is not over capacity, 3) public off-street parking at City Hall and Victoria Flats are underutilized at all times, and 4) utilization counts do not suggest a need to add more parking.   

Dedicating land solely for parking lots downtown would mean less space for retail/commercial and other uses in downtown and would detract from the walkable, historic charm of the area. This is something Victoria City Councils — today and in the future — will need to weigh as new development and redevelopment projects are proposed.

How will the proposed project impact parking in downtown Victoria?

The Developer is proposing a project which provides 196 parking stalls in total on the site. This would be broken down between stalls required for residential and commercial uses on site, as well as public parking stalls. Based on the recent proposal as of March 20, 2023, the overall project can park 196 vehicles. The number of private residential parking spaces is subject to change based on the total number of units that the developer will submit for the final application as the required number of private residential parking spaces is dependent on the total number of units. 

Proposed Parking Numbers Provided by Developer During Sketch Plat Review 

Proposed Provided Enclosed Stalls On-Street Stalls Total Stalls 
Provided - Residential 98 0 98
Provided - Public 88 10 98 
Provided - Total 186 10 196 

For reference, the current public parking lot on Quamoclit Street has 43 stalls in the open lot. 

During the sketch plat review, the Developer discussed strategies they could implement to ensure that apartment residents do not use the public parking spaces. The developer is also proposing 6,000 sq ft of new commercial space on the property owned by Mr. Gannon as part of the project that would be daytime use

Planned Unit Development (PUD)
What is a planned unit development (PUD)?

In a planned unit development, or PUD, developers have the opportunity to create a comprehensive and cohesive community by incorporating a combination of residential, commercial, recreational, and open space elements. This approach allows for more efficient land use, encourages pedestrian-friendly design, and promotes a sense of community within the development. 

Granting flexibility from municipal zoning code through tools like a PUD or conditional use permit (CUP) are tools cities use to achieve development goals for their community. These tools provide cities with flexibility to apply specific standards and/or conditions on developments that may not apply to other developments in the same zoning. 

There is a long history of using PUDs in the City of Victoria. More than 65% of Victoria’s residential developments in the city have been approved through the PUD process dating back to 1976. PUDs have allowed the City to preserve more trees and open space, and provide larger parks, sidewalks and trail connections that take advantage of Victoria’s unique landscape.

If you live in one of these neighborhoods, your development and house was approved through a PUD: Allegheny Grove (1st-4th Addition), Ambergate, Applewood, Arbor Woods (1st-2nd Addition), Bayshore 3rd Addition, Chevalle 17th Addition, Deer Run (1st,-12th, 14th), Fieldcreek Addition, Garden Path, Golf Ridge Villas, Green Crest Addition, Greenway on the Park, Hawks Pointe, Huntersbrook First Addition (Revere lots, Heritage & Tradition Lots), Katy Hills (1st-4th, 7th-9th Addition), Kelzer Pond (1st-2nd Addition), Kirkelachen 1st Addition, Krey Lakes (1st,3rd-7th), Lakepoint, Lakeside Estates (1st-2nd Addition), Laketown (1st-14th, 15th (Townhomes), 16th (Along Bridle/North of Catkin; South of Catkin; Lot 11, Block 2) Addition), Lake Virginia Farmstead, Lake Wassermann Ridge (1st-2nd), Madelyn Creek, Madelyn Trail, Marsh Hollow (Single Family and Townhome), Overlook at Tamarack Lake, Park Townhomes, Park Vista, Parkside Estates, Point Victoria, Reserve on the Park, Rhapsody (1st-3rd Addition), Rhapsody North (1st-2nd Addition), Savanna Valley, Schmieg Addition, Schutz Lake Shores, South Lake Virginia Shores, Sunny Shadows, Swiss Mountain, The Gallery (1st-2nd Addition), The Harborage, The Woodlands (1st-3rd Addition), Thornberry, Tristan Heights, Victoria Commercial Development, Victoria Heights, Wallace Addition, Wassermann Lake Woods (1st Addition), Waterford Landing, Watermark South (1st-2nd Addition), Whispering Hills (1st-2nd Addition), Windtree, Wintergreen Addition (1st-3rd Addition), Shores of Marsh Lake.  

Did You Know...Today, about 50% of the City of Victoria’s downtown land is being used for public and private parking. Requiring 2 parking spaces per residential unit downtown conflicts with the City’s goal of maintaining a walkable downtown and being a destination with a sense of place as cited in the City’s adopted 2040 Comprehensive Plan and 2016 Downtown Master Plan. From commercial to residential projects, the City of Victoria has used CUPs to allow development and redevelopment to occur without overparking. Reduced parking requirements have been granted in Victoria for over 20 years which has – in part – contributed to the charming, walkable downtown that exists today. The City is not aware of any issues with residents from Victoria Flats or Stieger Lake Condos parking in public spaces even though these projects were approved with less than 2.0 parking spaces per unit. There continues to be public parking availability in the Victoria Flats public parking lot even on the busiest of evenings. If the City were to only consider approving multi-family projects downtown with 2 parking spaces per unit, a lot more than the 50% of land downtown already being used for parking would need to be dedicated to private parking. This would result in even less public parking available for those visiting our downtown to recreate or support our local businesses.

Would a planned unit development be appropriate for the project?

Benefits of this project include expanded and enhanced public parking, an increase in commercial space that enlivens the street in our core downtown, and the development of additional market-rate, multi-family housing. With its focus on enhancing the downtown area, this project is poised to be a catalyst for growth and revitalization, bringing new economic opportunities and contributing to the city's long-term prosperity. 

As stated in the March 20th City Council Workshop agenda report, the developer intends to use a planned unit development (PUD) process for this project. In a PUD, developers have the opportunity to create a comprehensive and cohesive community by incorporating a combination of residential, commercial, recreational, and open space elements by exceeding zoning code or being granted flexibility when there is a public benefit. This approach allows for more efficient land use, encourages pedestrian-friendly design, and promotes a sense of community within the development. The PUD also allows the City to negotiate with a developer to gain amenities and more desirable elements of a project — like trail connections, landscaping, more extensive tree preservation, larger parks, etc. — that otherwise would not occur through straight zoning. 

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
What is Tax Increment Financing (TIF)?

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a geographically targeted economic development tool that can only be used after the city completes a statutory defined process, which typically includes a review of financial information (pro forma) for a proposed development. 

To establish a TIF district, a city must find by resolution that “but for” the use of TIF, the project as proposed, would not be reasonably expected to occur solely through private investment within the reasonably near future. Meaning without TIF, the project would not achieve minimum returns or debt service coverage sufficient to attract investors or to obtain private financing for the development to proceed. Additionally, certain public benefits will only be possible with use of TIF such as: public infrastructure, including parking facilities, housing choices, jobs/wages, or redevelopment of property.   

A decision by the city to deny TIF assistance does not necessarily mean that there will be no future improvements on a site, but rather it’s a finding that the project as proposed, and related public benefit, would not be feasible without TIF. Sometimes a city may say “no” to TIF because they find it acceptable and of benefit to the city to wait for what may be a longer period for a different type of development to be proposed that may not need TIF assistance. 

When a city makes a “but for” finding at time of establishment of a TIF district, the city is concluding that there would not be an increase in tax revenue for any of the taxing jurisdictions (school, county, city, and other jurisdictions) without TIF – because the project as proposed will not be built.  

It’s important to note that certain taxes, such as school referendum taxes and the state general property tax, cannot be captured within a TIF district pursuant to state law. The school referendum taxes generated from new development, for example, are payable to the school district in the year the taxable market value of the property increases from new development. 

TIF funds can only be used for land acquisition and physical improvements, such as infrastructure, buying land or demolishing buildings. TIF funds cannot be used for loans to businesses for working capital, machinery or equipment.  

Examples of TIF districts in downtown Victoria include the Mainstreet Building owned by Hartman Communities and the construction of the public parking lot along Rose Street (TIF #1-5), the Victoria Burrows building that started as a grocery store (TIF #1-4), and the Victoria Flats apartment building and Stieger Lake Lane improvements (TIF #1-6). 

What would the proposed Tax Increment Financing requested by Monarch be used to fund if approved?

The Developer has indicated that should the project move forward, they would seek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from the City to fund the construction of the public parking structure. The developer has indicated they have no plans to seek financial assistance from the City to fund the private portion of the project – the residential and commercial spaces. In this case, the developer is proposing the TIF funds would go to the construction of the public parking structure to expand public parking from 43 to a proposed 98 spaces.  By using TIF, downtown Victoria would gain more parking, no new taxpayer dollars would go to the construction of it, and the taxing jurisdictions will be able to collect taxes on the full valuation of the project after the TIF district is decertified. 

Consider this hypothetical example... if the total parking structure were to cost $6.8 million to construct and the public parking spaces cost $3.3 million of that total, the developer would only seek TIF for the $3.3 million to cover the construction of the public parking spaces. Even though the developer may have additional eligible costs covered by state law and the City’s business subsidy policy, they would be limiting their request for assistance to just the public parking costs.

Building Height
What are the building height requirements for downtown Victoria?

The proposed development is part of the City’s Central Business District (CBD). The CBD was implemented in 1975 to create a framework in which there can be development and redevelopment in this geographical area in accordance with the City's downtown redevelopment plan (Comprehensive Plan and 2016 Downtown Master Plan) and the city's downtown design standards. 

The City of Victoria requires a conditional use permit (CUP) for any building over 35’ within the Shoreland Overlay District. As noted in the map below, all CBD-zoned properties are at least partially within if not all the way in the Shoreland Overlay District, thus, any proposal over 35’ in the CBD would require a CUP.

Shoreland District Map
Red areas indicate the CBD zone and blue dots represent the Shoreland Overlay District. 

By having an ordinance regarding the 35’ building height, the City of Victoria retains control of what buildings can exceed that height through the CUP process. It is not an automatic approval but instead, goes through the oversight of the City Council by allowing Council to impose additional conditions on the project while still giving the developer freedom with their property to have financial success. Many of the buildings that would need to exceed that height would be multi-unit residential housing projects, like Victoria Flats and Stieger Lake Condominiums. Before making a decision on whether to grant a CUP, the City Council studies every project detail, collects professional opinions from expert reviewers, and looks at the long-term impacts of the project on the community. 
Why would the proposed project be considered for a conditional use permit in regards to building height?

During the March 20, 2023 workshop, Monarch proposed a 4-5 story building that is 67 feet at its tallest point, according to the last application during the sketch plat review. This would be comparable to the apartment building (Victoria Flats) next to it which is 65 feet high at its tallest point. The height of the Monarch building was determined in part, by the topography of the land as there is a significant amount of grade change that occurs over the block and the desire to have 13’ ceilings in the commercial spaces and 9’ ceilings in the residential spaces.  

The proposed concept shows the building with a height along Randy’s Way at 62’ at the top of the hill (southwest corner) and 20’ 8” to the top of the parking structure (northwest corner).  The concept also shows the building height along Quamoclit to be 62’ at the top of the hill (southeast corner) and 67’ at the bottom of the hill (northeast corner). For reference, Victoria Flats is 55’ at the top of the hill and 65’ at the bottom of the hill.   

The site for the Monarch proposal falls within the Shoreland Overlay District of the Commercial Business District (CBD). While the CBD does not restrict building height, the Shoreland Overlay District triggers the conditional use permit (CUP) when a structure is taller than 35’. The CUP allows for additional oversight by allowing the City Council to impose additional conditions on the project while still giving the developer freedom with their property to have financial success. Many of the buildings that would need to exceed that height would be multi-unit residential housing projects, like Victoria Flats and Stieger Lake Condominiums. Before making a decision on whether to grant a CUP, the City Council studies every project detail, collects professional opinions from expert reviewers, and looks at the long-term impacts of the project on the community. 

Residential Development Projects
Why are there so many residential development projects in review at the City of Victoria?

Currently, there are several residential development projects that are under construction in Victoria or in the concept review process with the City. Most projects are driven by the housing market. For example, housing development projects with smaller lots that build in community areas like neighborhood parks have been prevalent across the nation. Another market need for our area focuses on senior housing as our community members search for accessible housing options while relying on a fixed income. 

The City works to ensure that there are a variety of housing options for a lifetime — from families starting out to empty nesters that want lower maintenance needs on their home. Several of the new proposed projects for Victoria offer opportunities for our community members to stay in Victoria once they decide a single-family house is no longer something they want to maintain. 

How do property rights play a role in development?

The rights of property owners to develop their land are integral to promoting economic growth and community development. When property owners develop their land, they not only stimulate economic progress and create job opportunities but also generate tax revenue that contributes to public services and community welfare. Land development plays a pivotal role in revitalizing neighborhoods, addressing community needs, and providing affordable housing options. At the core of these rights is the concept of private property, granting individuals the authority to control and utilize their property as they deem appropriate, within the boundaries of applicable laws and regulations. These regulations, such as zoning rules that govern land use based on location, serve the best interests of the community by ensuring order and balance in land development and utilization. 
Classic Car Nights
Would new buildings downtown impact Classic Car Nights in the summer?

 The Victoria Classic Car Event is a key community gathering throughout the summer steeped in tradition and fun. With each development/redevelopment project that is proposed for downtown, the potential impact to the Classic Car nights is explored.  

The city is sensitive to the timing of construction projects — streets and buildings — to minimize conflicts with the classic car show nights. Coordination efforts can focus on scheduling construction activities during periods when the car show is not taking place. Temporary measures can be implemented to address the impact of construction on the car show. For example, signage and directional information can be provided to guide participants and attendees to alternative parking areas or access routes. Temporary barriers or noise-reducing measures can also be considered to mitigate the impact of construction activities. 

How would the proposed project impact Classic Car Nights in downtown Victoria?

The Monarch developer has explored several ideas including using new on-street parking around the building and the public parking structure for event-goer parking or classic car parking. Mr. Gannon has also discussed the idea of showing off his classic cars in a portion of the commercial space as he enjoys the event that his family has participated in for years. Should Monarch submit an application for development, additional conversations with the City and the Victoria Business Association, who coordinates the Classic Car Show Events, would continue to ensure effective planning and communication between event organizers and the construction authorities. 
Traffic Impact
Will a new apartment building downtown bring more traffic to the area?

The streets downtown were designed to handle a lot more traffic than we experience today. However, developers proposing projects downtown need to conduct a traffic impact study and make necessary street improvements should the impact be greater than what was planned by the City for this area. A traffic impact study is typically conducted during the preliminary plat phase of a project, which occurs after sketch plat review. 

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