A Colorado-based developer is doubling up on projects in the North Loop neighborhood.
Solaris Redevelopment Corp., known for its swank shops and condos at the base of a Vail mountain, is moving forward with plans to build 155 upscale apartments on a parking lot tucked between two historic buildings near the Federal Reserve Bank.
That project is a half-block from where work is already underway on the company’s first Minneapolis project, another luxury apartment building with 156 units atop 20,000 square feet of shops that surround a public plaza and courtyard.
“We’re trying to create a hub where everyone will feel welcome,” said Sharon Cohn, president of Solaris Redevelopment Corp.
Both projects were designed by Snow Kreilich Architects, a 30-person North Loop-based firm noted for its designs for ballparks, sleek international border crossings and one-of-a-kind houses and lofts.
“These projects are in our neighborhood, so designing these buildings means a lot to us,” said partner Matt Kreilich.
The firm, recently named National Firm of the Year by the American Institute of Architects, will unveil its plans for the 1st Street project next week at a Heritage Preservation Commission meeting. The plan calls for 155 apartments above 8,000 square feet of commercial space and 240 underground parking spaces. Previous proposals from another developer called for a taller building with a hotel and for-sale condos.
Both six-story buildings are a stark contrast to the highly patterned 19th-century warehouses that dominate the area. Instead of trying to replicate those historic buildings, the new ones will take visual cues when it comes to the massing of the structures, the materials and the scale relative to other buildings in the neighborhood. Both buildings will be simple rectangles clad with dark brick and metal accents.
Kreilich said the goal was to avoid designing “faux-historic buildings.”
Particular attention is being paid to how the buildings relate to the sidewalks, so they’ll have planters, seating areas and extensive landscaping aimed at creating a better experience for pedestrians.
“There are no skyways in the North Loop,” said Kreilich. “We walk on the sidewalks, so what happens at the street is really important.”
Tim Bildsoe, president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association, said the group supported the 2nd Street building, and he welcomes the sleek, modern design of both buildings.
The 1st Street site is within both the Minneapolis Warehouse Historic District and the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, and it’s flanked by two historic brick buildings: the Foster House and the former Chicago House Hotel.
“When we saw that project we liked those clean lines next to a historic building,” said Bildsoe. “The North Loop is always interested in having more public space, so the concept of having a ‘parklet’ in between the building is fantastic.”
Solaris’ Cohn said she became aware of the sites in fall 2016 when longtime Twin Cities developer Howard Bergerud began assembling the sites. Solaris closed on the 1st Street site in spring 2017. It expects to complete construction of the 2nd Street building by the end of 2019.
Cohn said that it is too soon to name the retail tenants that will go into the site, and that apartment rents haven’t been set.
The North Loop 2nd Street project is being built by Richfield-based Weis Builders. Cohn expects to present its plans for the 1st Street project to the North Loop Neighborhood Association and the city’s committee of the whole in coming weeks.