Starchitect Robert A.M. Stern put his signature design stamp on Eleven on the River, the new luxury condo building being built downtown.

"There's an elegance to his design," said Martha Dayton, founder of Martha Dayton Design. "The building is classic, stately, sophisticated and classy — a beautiful mix of traditional form while keeping it current."

But the New York-based Stern's swanky vision for Eleven on the River is getting some Minnesota tweaks. Like floor plans with more open, user-friendly kitchens.

"In New York, most people don't cook," said Dayton. "There are not big, open floor plans like here. We cook here and gather around an island."

As managing director of design for Eleven on the River, Dayton leads a team of top-tier local talent interpreting Stern's design for Midwestern lifestyles and sensibilities. In addition to designers at Dayton's firm, the local design team includes PKA Architecture, MartinPatrick3, Ryan Architecture & Engineering and Streeter & Associates.

The local team has reviewed every floor plan at Eleven on the River and developed curated design packages, including color palettes, material selections and cabinet design. Buyers can choose one of three design packages, one developed by Stern's firm and the other two by the Twin Cities design team.

From hip to classic

Chelsea, the most contemporary design package, features a lot of open shelving, glass cabinetry and sleek black finishes.

"Chelsea has a hip, youthful vibe — I like the juxtaposition in a very classic building," said architect Kristine Anderson, PKA Architecture.

Kensington is more traditional, with lots of paneling and classic cabinetry. "It feels library-ish but still feels urban," said Dayton.

The Ramsa package, designed by Stern's firm, is transitional. "It leans modern to me, with nice, clean lines yet a warmth to it," said Anderson.

And while each package includes suggested materials, such as white countertops with black veining for Chelsea and a warmer-toned marble for Kensington, buyers have considerable latitude to customize their home. "There are a lot of options within each package," said Dayton. "You can still make it your own."

Condos at Eleven on the River start at $900,000, said spokeswoman Lesa Bader, and range in size from 1,600 to 11,000 square feet. At 42 stories, it will be the tallest residential building in Minneapolis and has 118 units, more than half of which have been sold.

"It's such a unique property," said Bader. "Despite the slowdown [in downtown condo sales during the pandemic], Eleven has stayed strong." Its Mill District location in Downtown East is "a really desirable area," she said, within walking distance of U.S. Bank Stadium and the Guthrie Theater.

All three design packages are on display at Eleven's Design Center, which includes staged room vignettes and even three full kitchens to display countertops, cabinet styles and other selections. Located inside developer Ryan Companies' downtown office, the Design Center is open by appointment only.

Once buyers sign a purchase agreement, they're matched with a designer and receive 25 hours of consultation to help them choose tile, flooring, hardware and other finishes.

"You're with the same designer for the whole design experience," said Dayton.

For Gail and Randy Ross, the Design Center streamlined the process of making selections for their new unit at Eleven.

"This was very different than what we've had anywhere else," said Randy. "It really gives you a feel. You can even program in the view from your floor."

The Rosses, who expect to move into their completed 14th-floor unit early next year, chose the Ramsa design package. "It's not industrial and not traditional — it's a little in between," said Gail.

They're moving from another downtown condo building, where they bought after they downsized from their house in Excelsior. That house was traditional; their condo was contemporary. "This [their condo at Eleven] is a nice mix," said Randy.

"We really like the design process. It's fun," said Randy of their decision to build again.

One big draw for the Rosses is that their new condo at Eleven has a 15- by 15-foot loggia — a covered and heated private terrace with a view of the Mississippi River.

"It's a true entertaining space," said Gail. "We entertain a lot. We can steer people outside to have a drink and look at the view. A lot of people are uncomfortable outdoors on high floors." The balcony at their previous condo, for example, was a 4- by 12-foot space that felt more like a diving board than an outdoor room. "This is more enclosed. For us, it's a really big plus, a huge selling point. It opens up our living space to a whole other dimension."