A pair of high-rise apartment buildings in downtown Minneapolis aims to fill a residential gap between the tower-centric central business district and leafy Loring Park.

Minneapolis-based Alatus is planning a 31-story tower with about 350 rentals called the 12th St. Tower at 228 S. 12th St. Two blocks away, Detroit-based City Club Apartments recently broke ground on a 17-story tower at 95 S. 10th St. with 307 units that’s being called City Club-CBD Minneapolis.

Together, the buildings will bring hundreds of residents to the south end of Nicollet Mall, which has seen little residential development over the past 20 years. They’ll also bring much-needed commercial and retail space to that neighborhood.

“Everyone is seeing the amount of deliveries, and it’s a staggering number,” said Chris Osmundson, director of development for Alatus. “But there are not that many delivered in this part of downtown.”

Developers are expected to build several thousand apartments in downtown Minneapolis over the next two years, but most of those units will be built toward the north end of Nicollet Mall and in areas near parks and trails. The north end of Nicollet already has several new luxury rental towers, including the 30-story 365 Nicollet that’s slated to open this fall.

That leaves a big gap for those who want easy skyway access from a cluster of office buildings at the south end of Nicollet, which is flanked by the Convention Center, Loring Park and rental housing that was built several decades ago. “It’s addressing a market that has a lot of demand,” Osmundson said.

The apartments in both towers will include a broad range of sizes and prices, and both will include options for young professionals who are just starting their careers and don’t earn a lot or still have student loan debt.

In the Alatus project, rents are still being determined but are expected to start about $1,300 for studio-style units with about 400 square feet. City Club Apartments CEO Jonathan Holtzman said most apartments in his building will be affordable for those earning between $45,000 and $65,000 per year, though he wouldn’t say how big the units will be or estimate how much they’ll cost.

At the end of the fourth quarter last year, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Minneapolis was $1,475, according to Marquette Advisors.

Holtzman has already developed 10 apartment projects in the area, including the apartment conversion of the former Soo Line office building in the central business district. This latest project is part of his City Club concept, which focuses on offering compact units in buildings with resort-style amenities, including a “Bark Park,” and an outdoor roof terrace and “sky club” with a cabin-style clubhouse. The building won’t have any dedicated parking.

“With Minneapolis’ excellent public transportation options, our proximity to the skyway, access to bike-share, Uber, Lyft and other ride-share options, the advancement of autonomous vehicles and evolving attitudes to vehicle ownership, our community will have minimal parking,” Holtzman said.

The Alatus project will have nearly 600 spaces, including enough for residents plus overflow space for people attending nearby events. It’ll also have a rooftop sky lounge and will be LEED-certified with an emphasis on sustainability, giving residents the ability to control their utilities with an app.

The building will have two skyway connections with 4,800 square feet of office space and another 3,500 square feet of retail space on that level.

Both projects are in a new frontier for apartment developers. The area is dominated by office buildings, big hotels and parking garages that largely serve the convention center. For people who want high-rise living, there are few options. The City Club project is one block from the 26-story Bolero Flats apartment tower, formerly Symphony Place, which is across from Orchestra Hall and was built in 1983 but recently renovated.

The City Club project is on a site that now includes four buildings, two of which will be demolished. The historic 1907 Handicraft Building will be preserved, and the historic Guild Assembly Hall will be converted into a 3,500-square-foot two-story restaurant, entertainment and event space with a year-round outdoor entertainment patio.

Both projects will include significant commercial retail components, which are in short supply in the area and an essential element for attracting new residents, according to Mary Bujold, president of Maxfield Research.

She said the south end of Nicollet Mall has a different appeal than the North Loop, which has been able to attract residents because there’s a solid retail base. “I tend to see them as somewhat different markets,” she said.

Reuter Walton Development of Minneapolis plans to build a 239-unit apartment building on the 1400 block of Nicollet, which is currently a collection of small storefronts and restaurants. Some of those tenants will occupy space in the new building.

Bujold said skyway connections are essential for downtown buildings. “That is a feature that has always been desired in the downtown,” she said. “There has not been a lot developed at that end of Nicollet Mall in recent years, primarily because the North Loop kind of took over as the hot spot.”

Though the area lacks the vibrancy of the North Loop and some riverfront neighborhoods, that end of downtown is at the confluence of several key pedestrian, car, transit and bike routes.

“We’re trying to attract a little of everything,” said Osmundson. “We’re trying to attract a very diverse set of tenants who are all looking for different things, but they all want to live downtown and have a different urban experience.”