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Star Tribune to sell land for apartment project

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA
  • Star Tribune
  • August 28, 2012 - 9:33 PM

The Star Tribune is selling an acre of land in the heart of the Minneapolis Warehouse District to a development group that plans to build a six-story apartment building with 138 units.

Terms of the sale weren't disclosed, but Steve Yaeger, the Star Tribune's director of marketing and communication, said the deal is expected to close by the end of the year. The development group includes veteran apartment developer Curt Gunsbury of Solhem Companies and TE Miller Development.

The parcel being sold is now an employee parking lot that's part of a 3.38-acre site that's directly across from the Star Tribune's Heritage Center printing and distribution building. Long before the Star Tribune acquired the property in 1984, it had been used as a staging area for railroad train cars being repaired.

The Star Tribune owns several pieces of land, including several parcels near the company's headquarters at 425 Portland Av. S. and adjacent to the yet-to-be-built Vikings stadium. The parcels of land have been the source of much speculation as to how they might play into the new stadium.

Plans for the new apartments, which are being referred to as 815 2nd St. Apartments, will be reviewed by the Minneapolis Planning Commission's Committee of the Whole at a meeting Thursday. There's also a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 19.

The project comes at a time of intense interest in apartment development in the city. Maxfield Research said that there are 1,192 units proposed for the North Loop, which includes neighborhoods along the Mississippi River and west of Hennepin Avenue.

Already 236 units are under construction in the neighborhood, not including hundreds of apartments above downtown's first Whole Foods store at 222 Hennepin Av. S. The figure also doesn't include 100 apartments that were developed by Gunsbury in a building called Soltva, which is just a block from the proposed building and recently finished. Gunsbury has also been active in the neighborhood near the University of Minnesota.

Partners in the development weren't available to discuss details, but city documents show that the building will be reminiscent of the surrounding historic buildings, but will not try to replicate them. Designed by Tushie Montgomery Architects, the building will be clad with metal panels and brick, and will have underground parking that will be accessible via a rear below-grade building entrance. The development will also feature a patio/courtyard for residents.

The site is in the shadow of Heritage's clock tower, and is sandwiched between a small NRG Energy steam plant and a Star Tribune fuel/service building. Yaeger said that there are no offers on any other land owned by the Star Tribune.

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376

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