A luxury apartment building anchored by the first Whole Foods store in downtown Minneapolis has changed hands in a record-setting transaction.

Weidner Apartment Homes paid $109 million for 222 Hennepin, a 600,000-square-foot mixed-use project with 286 apartments, according to public records.

That price was the highest ever for a Twin Cities apartment building, and also the highest price per unit in the city at nearly $320,000.

“This is an extremely strong testament to the economic conditions in the Minneapolis metro area,” said Abe Appert, the CBRE senior vice president who brokered the deal.

Investors from across the country have been on the hunt for apartment buildings in vibrant parts of the metro, particularly downtown ­Minneapolis. There were 11 serious bidders for the 222 Hennepin project, which is at the busy intersection of Hennepin and Washington avenues.

A similar low-rise building that recently traded hands in the nearby North Loop neighborhood fetched nearly as much per unit. Late last year, and just months after completing construction, developer Trammell Crow sold Junction Flats apartments for what was then a record price of $49 million, or $270,000 per unit.

The 222 Hennepin project was completed last year by a partnership that included Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos., the Eden Prairie-based Excelsior Group and an equity partner, Invesco. Nearly all the apartments were quickly leased.

Public records show that Kirkland, Wash.-based Weidner paid $91.45 million for the apartment portion of the project and $17.55 million for the commercial component. The transaction was completed Tuesday.

Weidner, which will manage the project, has been on a buying spree in the Twin Cities. Last fall, for example, Weidner paid more than $78 million for a portfolio of three suburban apartment buildings with 606 apartments.

The company already owns and manages nearly 40,000 apartment units across the country and in Canada.

In a statement released by the company, Ryan said, “We are excited for what the sale says about the profile of Minneapolis on the national stage, and we look forward to additional opportunities to participate in the renewal and redevelopment of our neighborhoods and communities.”

Ryan is constructing a similar concept, in conjunction with Excelsior, at the corner of Selby and Snelling avenues in St. Paul that will include 210 apartments and a Whole Foods. Ryan is also the developer responsible for Downtown East’s overhaul, which includes two 17-story towers for Wells Fargo and residential buildings.


Staff writer Kristen Leigh Painter contributed to this report.