Minneapolis developer Graves Hospitality unveiled plans Friday for a mixed-use complex, including a Marriott Moxy hotel, along Washington Avenue near U.S. Bank Stadium and the Guthrie Theater, the latest project in the transformation of the east side of downtown.

It’s the second major reveal this week for Graves, which on Monday took the wraps off the 12-story, 300-room hotel it will build at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.

Its new downtown project will be called Iron Clad, recalling an iron-reinforced grain elevator that was once on the site at the intersection of Washington and Chicago avenues, two blocks from the NFL stadium and one from the Guthrie.

In a filing to city planners, Graves said it wants to build several buildings that connect together: one with 166 apartments, one with the 153-room Marriott Moxy hotel and another with offices.

All three will have their own street frontage, with the 15-story apartment building facing Washington and the eight-story hotel facing Chicago. Parking above and below the complex would accommodate 465 vehicles.

Iron Clad will replace a surface parking lot. Zoning laws allow for 10-story buildings in that area. Graves asked for a change to allow additional height. It will also need to apply for variance because of a sign it plans to put on the hotel’s roof.

Four new hotels have been proposed in the area, with one, a Radisson Red, under construction. Within one or two blocks, developers have also proposed a nine-story Hyatt Centric, 10-story Stone Arch Hotel and a boutique hotel in Thresher Square. These projects join the existing Aloft Hotel and Depot Renaissance Hotel, which is adding 110 more rooms, along Washington.

Graves is separately building a Marriott Moxy hotel in the Uptown neighborhood, the first hotel built there since the 1970s. Marriott started the Moxy brand in 2014, a line of lower-priced hotels aimed at young adults and budget-conscious travelers.

Benjamin Graves, president and chief operating officer at Graves Hospitality, said he and other developers are responding to demand for hotels to be closer to recreational and eating options, not just in the heart of downtown or near the convention center.

Washington and the nearby Mill District also have a number of restaurants.

“They are going there for dinner anyway. It’s easier for them to stay in that vibrant neighborhood,” Graves said. “It’s kind of a trend we are seeing nationwide.”

When the stadium is finished, Graves said the Washington Avenue corridor will “ignite.”

The company did not plan the building because of the 2018 Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium, he said, and won’t rush to try to finish it before then. Still, he added that finishing by then would be the “cherry on top” for the project.

Earlier this week, Graves said that it would be “close” for the big hotel at the airport, expected to be an InterContinental, to be finished in time for the Super Bowl. In addition to its size, that project faces complications of reconfiguring the main entry and exit at the airport’s Terminal 1.


Brian Edwards is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.