Rendering of Phase One, courtesy of Opus Development Co.

Opus Development's next downtown Minneapolis project, located on the surface parking lot across Nicollet Mall from the library, is picking up steam at City Hall. 

The plan has been in the works for a while, but is now gaining traction less than a month after the highly watched competition for the Nicollet Hotel Block, catty-corner from Opus' new site, captured the public's interest.

The latest plans show some minor tweaks to the Minnetonka-based developer's original vision for the site after the city requested more commercial, ground-level activity. 

"We’re excited to be continuing our history of enhancing downtown Minneapolis and to be building on the success of The Nic On Fifth with another luxury high-rise residential development on the Ritz block," said Dave Menke, president of Opus Development Co., in a statement. "We're currently working with the City through the approval process and look forward to sharing more information and updated plans in the coming weeks."

This mixed-use development includes two separate towers that will be completed in two different phases. Phase one's footprint will be more than 60,000 square feet and include a 32-story residential tower with 364 units, 12,000 square feet of ground-level retail and 430 parking stalls. The building will have a skyway across S. 4th. Street, providing a connection to Xcel Energy's second corporate headquarters tower, which Opus is currently building.

Renderings of phases one and two, submitted to the City of Minneapolis

Phase two is contigent on the market and could either be another 32-story residential complex or a 20-story office building.

Opus -- racing a plethora of other high-rise residential tower projects on the north end of downtown -- hopes to begin construction on Phase One this year, with completion in 2017.

For now, the project's environmental assessment worksheet, part of the city's due diligence process, will be available for public comment until April 1. The zoning and planning committee will discuss the staff's report and recommendation on April 23.

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