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"That's not something you would normally find if it were just a hotel of this size," he said.
Hotels in Starwood's Luxury Collection bill themselves as unique not only from competitors, but also from one another. At the Ivy, four of the suites in the historic tower take up an entire floor each, offering panoramic views. The $4,000-a-night suite at the top takes up two floors and will be furnished with a baby grand piano. All rooms have original artwork from a local artist, with all their furnishings designed locally and manufactured according to individual specifications.
The original tower, built in 1930, also contributes to the unique nature of the hotel. Laux said he was drawn to the building because of his longtime fondness for the city's historic buildings. He learned about the real estate business from his father, who managed the Minneapolis Grain Exchange Building in the 1970s. Laux and Benson renovated the Lumber Exchange on Hennepin Avenue in the 1980s.
The city's agreement with the developers, which included $6 million from tax-increment financing, called for the old tower to be rehabilitated so it could be included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The tower long has been considered an architectural jewel. It has Moorish arches and is the only ziggurat-style building in Minneapolis.
Laux said the building already has been nominated and under the register's rules should be included five years after its renovation is complete.
Susan Feyder 612-673-1723
Susan Feyder firstname.lastname@example.org