The apartment boom in St. Louis Park isn't showing any signs of slowing.

DLC Residential, a Florida-based developer, celebrated the opening of the Millennium West End (MWE), a 159-unit upscale, low-rise apartment project in the West End mixed-use development.

DLC loaded the property with all the latest features and amenities, including 24/7 virtual concierge services, a pub and a rooftop deck. And like most new apartment buildings today, MWE is pet friendly with an outdoor "pocket park" and dog- walk area. There's also a walking garden, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, cabanas, swimming pool and seating areas. The building is managed by Pinnacle.

The buildings have two levels of underground parking and were designed by ESG Architects. The units are being promoted as "urban-influenced" with 9- to 10-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows. Options range from one-room studios to family-friendly, three-bedroom apartments with walk-in closets.

Josh Pickard, regional property manager for Pinnacle, said the building is 45 percent leased and 35 percent occupied. Pickard said that occupancy has been increasing by roughly 10 percent each month and he expects leasing to accelerate as the weather warms.

The West End is a 49-acre redevelopment project at the southwest corner of I-394 and Hwy. 100 a few miles west of downtown Minneapolis. The $400 million project was developed by Duke Realty and opened in 2009. The first phase included a 350,000-square-foot retail center and about 30,000 square feet of office space. The retail portion, the Shops at West End, has several restaurants and a 14-screen movie theater.

The West End and surrounding environs have been the focus of considerable real estate dealings. Last January, the Shops at West End changed hands for $117.1 million. A couple of years ago, the Excelsior Group and various partners developed the Flats at West End apartments.

Duke is based in Indianapolis and now owns several major industrial properties across the metro area. The company is also partnering with a Nebraska apartment developer to build out the final developable lot at Duke's Norman Pointe business park in Bloomington.

One of the biggest apartment owners in the country has also set its sights on St. Louis Park. Weidner Apartment Homes of Kirkland, Wash., recently said that it wanted to buy a $47 million mixed-use apartment project in St. Louis Park from Oppidan Investment Co., which hadn't yet received final municipal approvals for the project. The buildings would replace a shuttered Bally Total Fitness building at 4900 Excelsior Blvd.

Jim Buchta