A $70 million development with a 10-story apartment building and restaurant is quickly coming together in Minneapolis’ North Loop.
The project is an unusual joint venture between two well-known Minneapolis developers, United Properties and Greco.
They will combine three parcels including two adjacent surface parking lots between the Freehouse and Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill that face Washington Avenue N. The third parcel is a surface parking lot on the opposite side of the blocks facing N. 3rd Street.
“I think we create a much grander project and a much better opportunity for the city and the neighborhood if we do it together,” said Arnie Gregory, Greco’s founder and owner.
Minneapolis-based Greco LLC currently owns the parking lot at 729 Washington Av. N. next to the Freehouse. Bloomington-based United will close on the lot at 753 Washington Av. next to Bunker’s next month. That lot is currently owned by Holden Properties and is valued at $1.04 million, according to Hennepin County property tax records. A third parcel is already co-owned by the two developers.
“We look forward to the potential redevelopment of these lots,” Bill Katter, executive vice president of United, said in a statement.
The plan includes a 10-story brick and post-tension concrete apartment building with large, warehouse-style windows and recessed balconies. Several of the 150 units would be large enough for a family, an option that’s tough to find in the area.
The building would have three floors of parking and a 8,000 square-foot, ground floor restaurant. That restaurant will have a 2,000-square-foot patio overlooking a grassy park connecting Washington Avenue to 3rd Avenue. Gregory said that a restaurateur has already stepped forward to occupy the space, but declined to name it.
The project also involves a new parking structure along 3rd Avenue.
United has been involved in several major development projects in the North Loop and nearby neighborhoods, including a new, $60 million headquarters for Be the Match, a nonprofit for bone marrow and umbilical-cord blood transplants, near Target Field.
The developer recently won the City of Minneapolis’ competitive process to buy and develop the Nicollet Hotel Block that connects the central business district with the North Loop. The company also announced last fall that it plans to build a speculative, or tenantless, office building next to Target Field Station.
Greco is responsible for hundreds of apartments in new and converted warehouse buildings. Its North Loop projects include ElseWarehouse, the Copham and Second Street Lofts. The company now owns and manages more than 500 apartments in the area, and recently announced plans to work with Opus Development Co. on the Seven Corners Gateway site in downtown St. Paul, a small but highly visible parcel across from Xcel Energy Center for which the city has long had big plans.
The North Loop plan, which will not require city subsidies, will begin the municipal approvals process next week. Gregory hopes to break ground on the parking structure first and finish the whole project in 2017.
Over the last five years, the North Loop has been one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods for commercial and residential development. “We want to keep the momentum going,” Gregory said. “We want to keep things moving in the right direction.”