U of Minn. unveils eco-friendly dorm, with chefs

  • Updated: August 24, 2013 - 12:44 AM

The gleaming six-story 17th Avenue Residence Hall, which will house about 600 students, features an elegant food court, rainwater toilets and what one official modestly calls “the best view in the Twin Cities.”

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New University of Minnesota residence hall - 326 17th Ave. S.E. The study rooms of the new residence hall have great views of the Minneapolis skyline. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

Photo: Photos by MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com,

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The University of Minnesota is about to open its first new dorm in Minneapolis in more than a decade. And it’s bound to make everyone in the old dorms a little jealous.

The gleaming six-story 17th Avenue Residence Hall, which will house about 600 students, features an elegant food court, rainwater toilets and what one official modestly calls “the best view in the Twin Cities.”

On Friday, construction workers were still putting the finishing touches on the new dorm, at 17th and University Avenues, as officials escorted visitors on a “sneak peak.” The first students are scheduled to move in Monday.

Among the amenities: a “fireplace lounge” on the main floor; a computer lab and study lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows (the best view, from the sixth floor, overlooks the downtown skyline.) The eco-friendly building has tables made of recycled corn and soy products, and a “green roof” that uses plants to filter rainwater.

But staffers predict that one spot will be the crowd favorite: the Fresh Food Company, which will double as a dining hall and restaurant open to the public. All its chefs work in vast open food stations, preparing fresh food made to order (there’s even a gluten-free zone). At a preview for university employees this week, some of the customers were excited enough to live-tweet as they ate. The restaurant officially opens Aug. 31.

Maura Lerner

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  • The new dorm will house about 600 students and includes a green roof, furniture made of recycled corn and soy products, a computer lab and lounges with floor-to-ceiling windows with skyline views.

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