The pieces are all coming together in the North Loop — not just in residential growth, but also an increase in office construction, hotels, one-of-a-kind retail stores, restaurants and bars.
Young couples and empty nesters have been flocking to buy and rent units in multifamily buildings in this downtown Minneapolis neighborhood bounded roughly by 3rd Avenue N., the Mississippi River, Plymouth Avenue N. and Interstate 94.
Fritz Kroll, an agent with Edina Realty, ought to know. He lives and works in the North Loop.
“I think that the North Loop, of all of the downtown neighborhoods, has done the best job of getting the buzz, not only on a regional level, but also a national level,” Kroll said. “It’s a really functional neighborhood in that it’s predominantly residential, and I think that’s unique for a downtown neighborhood.”
The North Loop is easy to get around and boasts variety within its housing stock, with some buildings more than 100 years old and some of more recent vintage. From Jan. 1 through mid-October 2015, 153 condominium units sold in the North Loop for $123,310 to $920,000.
The market is tight for owner-occupied units in all of downtown Minneapolis, which has undergone an apartment building boom in the last few years. All the new rental projects have really helped boost the values of existing condominiums, according to Kroll.
The rising downtown population is attracting more folks who want to live there, as well as grocery stores to serve them. Neighborhoods throughout downtown have benefited from the presence of Lunds on Central Avenue and 4th Street NE., the Whole Foods on Hennepin and Washington avenues in the North Loop and an upcoming Trader Joe’s for the Mill District, near the Guthrie Theater.
“There are more people around. There are more restaurants. The retail is improving. It’s just become a better place to live,” Kroll said. “Having 250 people live next door is better than having a surface parking lot.”
Kroll believes the outlook for condo development downtown is good. He points to how quickly the units in Stonebridge Lofts in the Mill District neighborhood’s Gold Medal Park sold. Buyers snapped up all but eight of the 164 units less than a year after the building was constructed by Shamrock Development.
The amount of time that has lapsed since the recession has allowed existing condo owners’ home values to recover, according to Barbara Brin, a longtime agent with Coldwell Banker Burnet’s Minneapolis Lakes office. That makes it more likely they will want to get into the market to sell their units and look for new digs.
Some buyers have moved to larger or smaller condos within the North Loop, Brin said. Condo prices downtown vary greatly, from nearly $300 per square foot to an eye-popping $1,000 per square foot, she noted.
“That is not the norm by any means, but there have been a few isolated incidents,” she said of the top price. Buyers have to consider the location, age of the building, the size and condition of the unit. “Some you are going to bring your toothbrush,” she said, “and some you bring a paintbrush.”