Yearning to learn what is new in downtown living?

Several sparkling new apartment buildings in downtown Minneapolis will be part of a biannual Explore Downtown Living tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, featuring 30 residential properties in five downtown neighborhoods. They include Central Business District, East Town (Mill District/Downtown East), Loring Park, North Loop and Northeast. Free parking is available at designated locations; an interactive map is available by visiting

The newest entries are:

• 700 Central in northeast Minneapolis. These old brick warehouses have been vacant for generations, but Bader Development and Nolan Properties Group partnered to convert the long-shuttered buildings into rental apartments. A new building on the same site is on the drawing board.

• Encore in the Mill District is the latest Mill District offering from developer George Sherman, whose company is based in the neighborhood. Before the recession, Sherman developed the Zenith condos next door. The Encore is one of the Twin Cities' most deluxe rental options at the moment with larger-than-normal balconies and park and Mississippi River views. Sherman isn't done with this corner of downtown — just a couple weeks ago Sherman broke ground on what is going to be the first Trader Joe's in Minneapolis. That store will share its site along Washington Avenue S. with new rental apartments and a boutique hotel in the renovated Thresher Square building.

• Nolo Flats is in a quiet corner of the bustling North Loop neighborhood. The project is Solhem's fifth project with TE Miller, including the nearby Soltva and Solhavn apartment buildings. The small site was supposed to bear superluxury condominiums, but the developers changed course and built this instead. Be sure to check out the rooftop "fire cauldron" and "skyline cinema."

• The final phase of Edition, one of three buildings that was built around the perimeter of the new Commons park in the newly named East Town neighborhood was recently finished. The building, which was developed by the Excelsior Group, has clear views of the new park and U.S. Bank Stadium.

• Mill City Quarter in the Mill District is at the corner of 2nd Street S. and 3rd Avenue just a couple blocks to the Mississippi River. The building, developed by Lupe Partners, has income-restricted units and is adjacent to Abiitan, an age-restricted building that is being developed by Ecumen and will include some units for people with memory-care issues. One of the most interesting aspects of the project is that it includes the city's first "woonerf," a pedestrian-focused road that offers access to the parkway along the river.

Participants must sign up on the event website and can receive a field guide at the first property they visit or at any Whole Foods. That field guide has details about the buildings and more than two dozen promotions and giveaways from local downtown businesses/sponsors, including Alchemy, JB Hudson and Yoga Fit.

The Explore Downtown Living event is produced by the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown 2025 Plan Development Committee. Partners include Target, VON91, Mpls. St. Paul Magazine, Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District and JB Hudson.

If buying is more your speed, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities Parade of Homes Fall Showcase is now underway and a new house at 4920 Humboldt Lane N. in Minneapolis will be open for the parade. The house is part of the Parkside at Humboldt Greenway redevelopment project. The development will have 65 owner-occupied houses with three to four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and more than 1,600 finished square feet with a base of $299,900. Four homes in the project are fully completed, five have sold and five are under construction. The house will also be open for a special event from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Show up for free sliders from B-52 Slider's food truck and live music.

jim buchta