Category Archives: Lake & Knox Water Discharge

CPM Development Seeks to Swap Lakefront Houses for Five-story Condo

The following article by Michelle Bruch, dated October 18, 2016, was published in the Southwest Journal.

(Park Watch Note:  As far as I can recall, this is the first time since 1988 when the Shoreland Height Ordinance was passed 13 to 0 by the Minneapolis City Council that a developer has attempted to exceed the 35 foot limit on a MPRB lake parkway by proposing a condominium complex that would be 55 feet in height.

The intent of the Shoreland Height Ordinance was to protect the city’s lakes from excessive height.  Anything over 35 feet was considered excessive height. Until now, developers have respected the Shoreland Height Ordinance on Minneapolis’ lake parkways.   This proposed 55 foot condominium project would replace three houses with 14 to 16 one million dollar condos fronting on E. Lake Calhoun Parkway.)
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Lake and Knox LLC, City Reach Settlement Agreement

The following article by Michelle Bruch was published in the December 16 issue of the Southwest Journal.


Lake and Knox LLC, the developer of the 1800 Lake on Calhoun apartments, has reached a settlement with the city that involves flooding the lowest level of its basement with groundwater that is currently pumping into the Chain of Lakes.

Pending City Council approval of the settlement, the developer could pay $300,000 to the city and stop pumping by March 31.*

To offset the lost parking, the developer wants to build underground parking in a new mixed-use project on two lots east of the site, 1708 and 1714 W. Lake St., connected by a tunnel to 1800 Lake. City approval of a new development project is not part of the settlement agreement, said City Attorney Susan Segal.
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Summary Judgement Announced in 1800 Lake Lawsuit

The following article by Dylan Thomas was published in the November 5, 2014 on-line edition of the Southwest Journal.

Summary Judgement Announced in 1800 Lake Lawsuit


The city took the apartment building owners to court over groundwater discharge

EAST ISLES The judge hearing the city’s dispute with the developers of an apartment building discharging millions of gallons of groundwater into the Chain of Lakes has announced a summary judgement, according to Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board attorney Brian Rice.

Rice shared the news at Wednesday’s Park Board hearing. The Park Board joined the lawsuit against Lake and Knox LLC, developer of the 57-unit 1800 Lake building, in January.

Reached for comment, Daniel Oberpriller of Lake and Knox LLC said he hadn’t yet seen the judge’s ruling.

“I just know we are making important headway on a solution,” Oberpriller said, adding that an announcement may come before the end of the week.

1800 Lake, named for its address overlooking Lake Calhoun, opened in October 2011. It includes a two-story underground parking garage that, depending on seasonal fluctuations, lies up to 18 feet below the water table.

Two sump pumps operating continuously since 2011 are necessary to keep the lowest basement level dry. They pump about 170 gallons of water per minute into the city storm sewer, which dumps into the channel connecting Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.

The warm groundwater prevents ice from forming on part of the channel in the wintertime, creating a nuisance for cross-country skiers and hikers.

The discharge amounts to 89 million gallons of groundwater annually, according to a Barr Engineering aquatic ecologist retained by the city and Park Board in the case. It’s also adding about 75 pounds of phosphorous per year, which contributes to algae growth.

The case was before Hennepin County Judge Philip D. Bush, who ordered a hearing within 30 days for the city’s request for injunctive relief.


1800 Lake Litigation, Water Discharge Continues

1800 Lake Litigation, Water Discharge Continues

The following article by Michelle Bruch was published in the November 4, 2014 issue of the Southwest Journal

Photo by Michelle Bruch

The apartment development at Lake & Knox has pumped groundwater into the chain of lakes since 2011

The city of Minneapolis and the 1800 Lake apartment developer couldn’t reach a settlement this fall, and litigation continues over millions of gallons of diverted groundwater pumping into the lakes.

The apartment building’s lowest parking level sits below the water table at Lake Street & Knox Avenue, and dewatering pumps are discharging water into a storm drain that flows into the channel between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun. If pumping stopped for more than an hour, the garage would flood, according to city staff. The rate of water discharge is 170 gallons per minute, or more than 89 million gallons per year.

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Park Board sues over discharge to lagoon

The following article by Steve Brandt was posted on the Star Tribune blog on January 22, 2014:

Park Board sues over discharge to lagoon

A second Minneapolis agency has sued the owner of an apartment building at 1800 W. Lake St. for discharging groundwater into the lagoon between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun.

The complaint served last week by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board against Eden Prairie-based Lake and Knox LLC follows a city lawsuit last month: over the discharge of groundwater. The Park Board will ask that the two lawsuits be joined, attorney Brian Rice said.

The city and Park Board allege that the apartment owner exceed the limits of a temporary permit it was issued during construction of the 56-unit building to lower the water table to permit construction of a lower-level garage. The Park Board cites its statutory authority over waters adjacent to parks.

The Park Board asked the court to declare the discharge illegal, to enjoin further discharge and to award unspecified damages.

Lake and Knox is not due to file an answer until late this month in Hennepin County District Court to the allegations against it, nor has its attorney responded to Star Tribune inquiries.

The lawsuits allege that the apartment project is pumping an annual 89 million gallons into the lagoon. The Park Board alleges that causes thin ice and open water on the lagoon, creating hazards for skiers and others, mars the scenery, uses storm drain capacity, and impedes the effectiveness and hinders the maintenance of a grit chamber intended to remove sediment and accompanying pollutants.

MPR: Lawsuit Threatened Over Water Discharge From Building

The following item by Jon Collins was published in the October 21, 2013 edition of MPR News:

City threatens suit over building’s discharge of water into Chain of Lakes

The owners of a building near the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis could face a lawsuit from the city for discharging thousands of gallons of water an hour into the nearby lakes through a storm sewer.

The Minneapolis City Council has authorized a lawsuit against Lake and Knox LLC, the owners of the luxury apartment building 1800 Lake on Calhoun, according to a statement released Monday.

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Luxury Apartment’s Groundwater Issue Headed To Court

The following Southwest Journal article by Dylan Thomas was updated on October 22, 2013:

Luxury apartment’s groundwater issue headed to court


The city plans to sue the owners of 1800 Lake on Calhoun over the illegal discharge of groundwater.

File photo

The Minneapolis City Council may take the owner of an Uptown luxury apartment building to court over what it the city says is the illegal discharge of groundwater into the Chain of Lakes.

Pumps must move an estimated 170 gallons of groundwater per minute away from the foundation of 1800 Lake on Calhoun in order to keep the building’s two stories of underground parking dry. The constant flow through the storm sewer means city crews can’t access nearby sewer pipes for maintenance.

The 55-degree groundwater pours continuously from a storm sewer outlet into the lagoon between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. In the winter, thin ice and open water in the lagoon create a hazard for cross country skiers and others out on the lakes.

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The following article by Nick Halter was published in the August 14, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal:


Photo By Nick Halter

Meg Tuthill and Anita Tabb hold a press conference today on the shore of the lagoon between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles

City Council Member Meg Tuthill and the city have given developers of an Uptown mixed-use building until Sept. 27 to find a solution to deal with groundwater that they’re pumping from their basement into the lagoon between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.

If that solution doesn’t satisfy city concerns before the winter freeze, Tuthill says the city is prepared to file a lawsuit against the developers.

“If they do not come up with criteria that is satisfactory to the city we will start a lawsuit,” said Tuthill said.

The developers, Nick Walton and Daniel Oberpriller, are pursuing an injection well to deal with the problem, according to the deadline letter the city sent to their property manager, Lynne Wyffels.
Wyffels was out of the office today, so details of an injection well weren’t immediately clear.
However, Barr Engineering was hired by the city in April to study possible solutions. That report [attached below] details what an injection well would do: It would take water and pump it back into the aquifer via a 60-foot well.

“In this concept, the pumped groundwater would need to be monitored very closely for any contaminants and a system to bypass the injection well would need to be available in case of contamination,” the report says.

An injection well would cost $1 million to $2 million, according to the report.

Tuthill said the developers have been given notice of the deadline and the criteria needed to satisfy the city. She could not list all the criteria, but said that the building could no longer pump water into the lagoon.

“If we let one developer start putting water into our lake system or our river, we’re suddenly going to be totally out of whack because where do you say no? So you’ve really got to set a precedent.”

Deputy City Attorney Peter Ginder said City Council approval is needed before the city can file a lawsuit.
Construction on the 65-unit building ruptured the groundwater table and now requires the building to pump 100 million gallons of groundwater per year from the garage into the lagoon, according to the Barr report. Last winter, the relatively warm groundwater water created a hole in the ice on the lagoon, and a cross-country skier fell into the open water.

The water flows at 204 gallons per minute and the Department of Natural Resources is concerned that the flow will contribute to flooding during heavy rains.

“With the water being pumped into the lagoon, we really don’t know how that will affect the ecosystem,” said Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb (District 4). “That’s a really big concern for us.”

The developers hired their own engineering firm, Braun Engineering, to conduct its own testing and analysis.



The City of Minneapolis and Park Board staff have been meeting with the developer of the apartment building at 1800 West Lake Street to resolve the issue of groundwater discharge into the lagoon between Lakes Calhoun and Isles. The following press release was issued by City Council Member Meg Tuthill on August 14, 2013:


City of Minneapolis and Park Board staff have been meeting with the developer of the apartment building at 1800 West Lake Street to resolve the issue of groundwater discharge into the lagoon between Lakes Calhoun and Isles. Council Member Meg Tuthill has announced the City has set a deadline for the developer to implement a solution. The developer needs to provide a proposed solution by September 27, 2013. The proposed solution must satisfy all City concerns, including being implemented before this year’s freezing to avoid public safety issues this winter. If the City’s deadline is not met, the City’s recourse will be to initiate a lawsuit. City Council approval is needed to initiate the lawsuit.

Tuthill said “Over the past three years, I’ve worked closely with City staff, Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb and concerned residents on issues to protect the City’s natural resources. Resolving this groundwater discharge issue is important to preserve our Lakes, which are the jewel in our crown, and protects public safety. Stewardship of our environment is very important to me.”

Park Board Commissioner Tabb added, “This issue has caused great concern for the Park Board both because of its unknown impact on the ecosystem of the lagoon as well as its known impact on the safety of our residents and winter recreation users. I am delighted that Council Member Tuthill has championed bringing a resolution to this issue with the strong support of Mayor Rybak.”