A Chicago developer plans a luxury high-rise in an area where they've been controversial.
Rentals continue to win out over condos in downtown Minneapolis, where a developer has plans to build a sleek 355-unit apartment tower at a site where it had previously planned to build condos.
If built, the 36-story luxury tower would be among the largest residential buildings in the Twin Cities.
Brian Gordon, vice president of Chicago-based Magellan Development, said the proposed high-rise is geared toward young professionals and will have a 24-hour doorman, outdoor pool, movie theater and business center. The site is at W. 14th Street and LaSalle Avenue S., a parking lot near Loring Park in a high-density residential neighborhood at the south edge of downtown Minneapolis.
High-rise development in the neighborhood has been controversial. An earlier proposal by developer Brad Hoyt to build a 21-story tower on a hill overlooking Loring Park was defeated. Hoyt changed course and now has some support for a seven-story building.
Gordon said Magellan has owned the site for several years and went through a two-year planning process before receiving approval to build a 39-story condo tower, but scrapped those plans when the for-sale market went south. Magellan scaled back to 36 stories, is lining up financing and expects to present its plans to the Minneapolis Planning Commission in October. It could start leasing early next year for occupancy in early 2013.
"We've gone through all the hard stuff," Gordon said.
Hilary Dvorak, a senior planner for the city, said the approvals Magellan received to build the 39-story condo tower have expired and that the company has to go through the process again. "Since it's similar, I don't know what the neighborhood is going to say," she said.
Calls to the Citizens for a Loring Park Community were not returned.
Mike Christenson, director for the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, said that while the project is exciting and will create a big stir, it's still early in the planning process. "A lot of questions have to be vetted," he said.
Developers have come out of the woodwork with proposals for thousands of new apartments in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The market is being driven by people who want to live in or near downtown, but aren't willing to commit to buying a condo. Apartment vacancy rates in downtown Minneapolis have fallen to less than 2 percent -- a near-record low -- and developers are in a race to satisfy demand before the market gets saturated.
Magellan comes to the Twin Cities with considerable experience in high-rise residential development. The company is responsible for hundreds of apartments and condos in downtown Chicago, including Aqua, a striking 87-story combination condo and rental apartment building along the Chicago River near the shores of Lake Michigan.
The building was completed last year and has nearly 2 million square feet of residential and commercial space. Professional Builder magazine said the company was the 35th-largest builder in the nation this year.
Gordon said its Minneapolis project is going to be unlike anything that's now available in the market. Most of what's planned in the city are low-rise, wood-framed buildings. This one is going to be glass and concrete, which means that rent prices are going to be at the high end of what renters are used to paying.
Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376