Luigi and Paola Bernardi, the brother-sister team who run Sentinel Management and Aurora Investments, made a good bet with their investment in the Velo, a luxury apartment building in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

After buying the project, which has 101 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail, from the Opus Group after its completion last fall, the Luigis sold the building this week to New York-based Clarion Partners for nearly $31 million, or a whopping $300,000 per unit.

Tom Commerford, vice president of investment services of Paramount Real Estate Corp/TCN Worldwide, helped broker the deal.

During a tour of the building after its completion, the Bernardis said the building was more than 60 percent leased after just a couple of months. That was before the Red Cow restaurant moved into part of the retail space, which faces the Whole Foods in the 222 Hennepin building.

Clarion just paid nearly $40 million ­­­— almost $280,000 per unit — for the nearby Paxon project at 1st Street and 3rd Avenue N. on the former site of the stalled Reserve Condos. That building, which has 140 units, was developed by Sherman Associates.

It’s all more evidence apartment that sales volume could reach record levels this year.

Through July 1, there were 26 major transactions, according to NAI Everest, a local brokerage.

The biggest deal was the March 1 sale of the 286-unit 222 Hennepin project for $91.45 million to Weidner Apartments Homes. The highest price per unit so far this year was the June 5 sale of the 92-unit Walkway project with its cantilevered hot tub along Hennepin Avenue in the Uptown neighborhood to JPMorgan for a stunning $437,500 per unit.

Jim Buchta