The restored North Star Blankets sign still flashes above the Mississippi River, albeit now with LED lighting rather than neon.
The once-renowned blanket factory is now the North Star Lofts, the first residential conversion in the historic Mill District, which helped launch the transformation of the forgotten Minneapolis riverfront in 1999.
Betsy Lucas, a Coldwell Banker Burnet real estate agent, recently listed an upscale 3,400-square-foot penthouse condo in the North Star Lofts for $3.195 million. And she knows the 36-unit luxury condo building along the river inside and out.
Lucas was one of the first residents and lived there for five years.
“The kitchen windows looked out at the Stone Arch Bridge,” she said. “It was an exciting and emerging neighborhood.”
Today the walkable Mill District neighborhood is home to the Guthrie Theater, restaurants, coffeehouses and blocks of new glassy condo high-rises.
The penthouse for sale is a corner unit spanning the third and fourth floors — plus a mezzanine — and steps out to a private rooftop deck with vistas of the river and rushing St. Anthony Falls.
Exposed limestone walls, 11-foot-tall ceilings and steel beams hint at the 1927 building’s woolen mill origins. Huge arched windows draw in light throughout the open spaces.
The three bedrooms are on the third level for privacy and quiet.
The current owners bought the spacious unit in 2013 and did extensive updating, including kitchen, owners’ suite and bathroom makeovers.
They freshened every space with refinished wood floors, and new paint and light fixtures, said Lucas. Modern updates include a new gas ribbon fireplace with a sleek metal surround in the great room.
The remodeled kitchen features dark-stained cabinets, new appliances and granite countertops.
Own a lot of books? A floor-to-ceiling rolling library ladder will help you reach them.
Like many condo buildings in downtown Minneapolis, North Star offers a community rooftop deck and fitness center.
“It lives like a townhouse, with a three-car garage that steps right into the unit,” said Lucas.
Even with all the modern updates inside, the vintage North Star Blankets tower preserves the spirit and history of the original woolen mill.
“It’s part of a milling industry that created a vibrant city on the river,” said Lucas.
Betsy Lucas, Coldwell Banker Burnet, 612-327-5905, has the listing.