The Ackerberg Group and Northland Real Estate Group said they will break ground before the end of the month on a 192-unit "modular" apartment complex near downtown St. Paul.

The seven-story building at 337 W. 7th St. is expected to be completed in fall 2021, said officials of the two companies codeveloping the $40 million project.

Ackerberg and Northland recently acquired the roughly half-acre parcel near the corner of Grand Avenue and West 7th Street and close to United Hospital and Children's Minnesota Hospital.

The developers will soon demolish a building on the site that now houses Bonfe's Mechanical Service, which is relocating across the street.

In its place will rise the Alvera, a seven-story structure with studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, plus 1,400 square feet of retail space and 110 covered parking stalls that will rely on a "three level, semi-automated stacking system."

The apartment building will feature two lobbies and planned amenities including a penthouse clubroom with kitchen, fireplace and grills plus a fitness center, bike room, storage lockers and a package center.

Rents have not yet been set, but a spokesperson for Ackerberg and Northland said "the vision of the Alvera is to provide dense, workforce housing to hospital staff, entry-level downtown employees and West 7th service industry workers at price points lower than nearby competition."

Opus Design Build is the general contractor for the project, which also includes DJR Architecture and the interior design firm E. Christen Design.

Owatonna-based Rise Modular is the maker of commercial modular buildings hired to provide the apartment units, parts of which will be built off site to shorten construction time, lower costs and reduce environmental impacts. Bridgewater Bank is financing construction.

"Northland Real Estate Group prides itself on developing unique projects like this to meet unmet housing needs while using creative tactics," said Northland principal Brian Farrell.

Ackerberg CEO Stu Ackerberg said the building will nod to the innovative by featuring the unique parking system and "beautiful artful interiors and exterior."

Joe Spencer, president of the St. Paul Downtown Alliance, said the project's location will be appealing because it sits adjacent to two hospitals on the bustling 7th Street corridor and is not far from St. Paul's well-known Science Museum, Xcel Energy Center, RiverCenter and the Ordway. "It's a great corner of the downtown and you have a lot of great employment ... especially with United Hospital being there," Spencer said.

The new apartment project is the latest residential housing destined for downtown St. Paul. Others include the former Ecolab University building on Wabasha Avenue that is being converted from offices into apartments.

Closer to the Xcel Center, Kaeding Development and Doran Companies and are building the $69 million Seven Corners Gateway hotel and apartment complex. That project suffered a setback in August when an arsonist burned down the five-story hotel that was more than half finished.

Two more mixed-use apartment buildings are being built across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Paul.