The developer of the Hewing Hotel in the North Loop neighborhood wants to build 110 for-sale condos where northeast and southeast Minneapolis meet.
Milwaukee-based Fe Equus presented preliminary plans to the Nicollet Island East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) for a mid-rise building with condos atop three levels of aboveground parking, 10,800 square feet of street-level commercial space and two levels of below-ground parking.
The project would be built on a triangular site in the 400 block of E. Hennepin Avenue, which now includes a vacant lot and a building that would be demolished. An early 1900s building that houses Whitey’s World Famous Saloon is adjacent to the site.
The site, which has yet to be officially named and is being referred to as “Cen-Hen,” is one block outside the St. Anthony Falls Historic District. Public records show that a company related to Fe Equus recently paid $1.8 million for 416 E. Hennepin Av.
Joe Grunnet of DRG, a real estate brokerage in the North Loop and a partner on the project, said the height of the building is still in flux. “Our goal is 15 stories,” he said.
A site plan shows a 4,000-plus-square-foot restaurant space, lobby and office space for DRG. Grunnet said that DRG is planning to open more urban Minneapolis offices and won’t leave the North Loop.
NIEBNA President P. Victor Grambsch said it was a “very preliminary, very vague proposal” with few details about the building, but he added the neighborhood group was generally in favor of the idea. The group is expected to see another iteration of the plan in September.
Downtown developers have been focused on building luxury rental apartments, with thousands built in recent years. By contrast, fewer than 700 condos have been built in Minneapolis over the last decade. Recent amendments to Minnesota’s construction defect laws, which were signed last month by Gov. Mark Dayton, may yield more condo development.
The Cen-Hen developers are seeking tax increment financing from the city and hope to offer “approachable pricing” on one-fifth of the units through deed restrictions that control the resale price of those units.
The units will range from 1,077 to 2,237 square feet. A one-bedroom starts at $359,000; the “approachable” price of a one-bedroom unit starts at $199,000. One-bedroom plus-den units start at $559,000. Grunnet said the timeline for city approvals and construction is yet to be determined.
The project comes at a time of intense development on east bank along the Mississippi River. A major rental apartment warehouse conversion recently opened, a 22-story apartment tower is under construction and several hundred rentals are in the development pipeline.
At the same NIEBNA meeting, M.A. Mortenson, the Golden Valley construction giant, presented revised plans for 333 Hennepin, a 26-story rental apartment tower that was announced in 2015 and would be built less than a block from the Cen-Hen site. NIEBNA voted 12-1 in favor of those changes.