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“We weren’t quite sure that it was going to catch,” he said. “It felt like a wager that the development market was going to come here. Now it feels like easy money.”
Another 100 new rental units have been proposed for the North Loop, and a new transit center that’s being compared to New York’s Grand Central Terminal is scheduled to open next year. Plans are in the works to build a $57 million headquarters for the National Bone Marrow Transplant Program. And residents are trying to identify the best spot for a new neighborhood park.
Despite all of that, the neighborhood has retained its commercial feel, in part, because the Warehouse District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, limiting the kind of high-rises that are popping up in the adjacent downtown area.
“We have cool condos and apartments,” said Frank, who lives in the 710 Lofts. “But when I ride my bike I still have to be careful of the semitrailers that are still doing their deliveries.”
That sense of authenticity is one of the reasons Forbes magazine recently called it one of “America’s best hipster neighborhoods.”
Maren Bean, who recently moved to the Twin Cities from San Francisco, said she was surprised that downtown didn’t already have its own Whole Foods, and that having a store downstairs was a key reason she recently decided to rent at 222 Hennepin Av.
“Everyone seems to think it is a great thing for the neighborhood,” Bean said. “It definitely made me look more closely at that neighborhood.”
Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376