For the last year, Sheila Ulrich would walk outside her Loring Park apartment and count the number of new floors being added to the luxury apartment tower next door.
The final tally: 36.
Now she’s making it her new home. The 54-year-old was one of the first tenants on Friday to move into the LPM Apartments — a distinctive addition to the Minneapolis skyline with its curved facade. It is the first new high-rise apartment building to open downtown in decades.
Ulrich was drawn in by its resort-style amenities, which include an indoor lap pool and outdoor pool, a fitness center, sauna and steam rooms, a deck with fire pits, hot tubs, and an indoor dog run.
“It’s new, different, fun and secure,” she said, adding that the 24-hour security also appealed to her after some robberies in the neighborhood.
Joshua Taylor, vice president of marketing for Chicago-based Magellan Development Group, declined to say how much of the building had been leased.
“But leasing is going better than expected,” he said, adding that it will be easier to rent out now that the building has opened and prospective tenants can see it.
The $100 million-plus building with 354 units is part of a wave of new apartments coming on the market amid a rental boom. Ten blocks away, the Opus Group is finishing up a 26-story upscale apartment building — Nic on Fifth — that will connect to the city’s skyway system. It is expected to open in September.
These new apartments are aimed at young professionals and downsizing empty-nesters who like the flexibility that comes with renting. Many of the newer units are also higher-priced. Average rents downtown have increased 7.3 percent to $1,398.
At LPM Apartments, studios start out at $1,600, one bedrooms at $1,702, and two bedrooms at $2,713. There is also a three-bedroom penthouse for $4,852.
On Friday, workers were racing around to finish up work around the complex — painting, washing windows, hosing off sidewalks — as a handful of moving trucks were parked outside.
The rush of opening day came with some hiccups. Getting an occupancy permit came down to the wire after city inspectors flagged some safety issues on Thursday. After scrambling to get those issues addressed, the building was given clearance on Friday afternoon to go ahead and let renters, who had already started moving in their belongings, stay there that night.
When things were still uncertain earlier in the day, Ulrich took the situation in stride as she carried some clothes into her new home.
“You expect that in a new building,” she said. “Being the first tenant in, you know that’s going to happen.”