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Warehouse/North Loop : Development News

28 Warehouse/North Loop Articles | Page: | Show All

Velo apartments--named for the city's bikeability--planned for North Loop

David Frank, who chairs the North Loop Neighborhood Association, says that the planned Velo apartment project is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Over the past 18 months, Frank says, the neighborhood group has seen a number of development proposals as the market has improved. “Now, if not hot, it’s very much in motion,” he says.

Velo, which is French for “bicycle,” is the name of a 106-unit apartment building that the Minnetonka- based Opus Group wants to build in Minneapolis’s North Loop area.

Velo “makes the case that development can be all the way over here,” Frank says. “We haven’t seen development in this neighborhood this far east or north before.”

The development, which references the area’s bikeability, may also include a locally owned restaurant, yoga studio, and bike shop, according to a Star Tribune story.

Expected to open in August 2013, Velo will replace an industrial building on the site that’s owned by Merit Printing, according to the story.

Further, Velo incorporates many of the kinds of features that the neighborhood group looks for.

Besides bringing more people into the neighborhood, “close to where lots of other people live,” it achieves the neighborhood’s goal of increasing foot traffic.

Also on the plus side, Velo will be close to public transit, the coming Whole Foods Market grocery store (read The Line's story here), and other amenities downtown and across the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. Its retail opportunities also help make the area more pedestrian-friendly.  

All in all, “We are very much in favor of it,” Frank says, adding that it has a “good use streetscape and a high-quality building, and contributes to the sidewalk next to it.”

Source: David Frank, chair, North Loop Neighborhood Association
Writer: Anna Pratt

The Brick rock venue coming to Warehouse District

A new concert venue called The Brick is preparing to open next month in downtown Minneapolis’s Warehouse District.

The band Jane’s Addiction created a buzz about the club when it announced its March 19 show would be held at The Brick, according to a City Pages story.

The club is going into the space that once housed Club 3 Degrees, a Christian, youth-oriented rock club that continues to host occasional shows elsewhere.   

The Brick's developer and owner, AEG Live, which is the live entertainment division of the Los Angeles-based AEG, is renovating the building that dates back to the early 1900s, according to its website.

The place will have a section for reserved and cabaret-style seating while its “multi-level floor plan allows for incredible sight lines,” according to the site. Also, the club will have a capacity of 2,000 people, along with a basement-level bar that will be able to accommodate a crowd of up to 400.

Although the venue's interior will be similar to the former club, it'll get a new paint job, carpeting, and signage, according to Joe Litvag, senior vice president of AEG Live.

"Obviously a big difference will be the 'vibe' of the space, which will be based on the staff we’re hiring and the artists performing on stage," he says via email. "The previous tenant really did a good job of building a first-class, flexible space, so much of the look will be the same."

"Our goal is to grow the 'live entertainment pie' in the Twin Cities," he says. "Another venue ideally means more shows in downtown Minneapolis, and more shows means more foot traffic for local businesses downtown."

In a blog posting from The Current, The Brick's general manager Jeff Kahr, adds that the club’s offerings will be diverse: “The venue itself will lend itself well to all types of touring artists, from rock, country and pop to R&B, jazz, comedy and more."

Source: Joe Litvag, Senior Vice President, AEG Live; Brick information; The Current  
Writer: Anna Pratt

Whole Foods to anchor $70 million mixed-use development in downtown Minneapolis

Recently, Whole Foods publicized its plan to open up a 38,000-square-foot grocery store in a development on the site of the old Jaguar car dealership in downtown Minneapolis, which is a highly-visible  “gateway” into the city.

The $70 million mixed-use development will also include 287 luxury apartments from Ryan Companies. in partnership with the Excelsior Group, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports. (Read a previous story from The Line here.)  

The natural and organic foods supermarket, which started in Austin, Texas in 1980, will include a separate liquor store that will carry a line of specialty beers and wine. It'll open next year on the building’s ground floor, the company announced in a prepared statement.  

Joanne Kaufman, who leads the Warehouse District Business Association in downtown Minneapolis, says that many community members are in favor of the project as a whole. “We’re happy to see what’s been an empty block for a long time get something in there,” she says.

About Whole Foods in particular, she says, “I think it’ll have great impact,” adding, “It’ll be great for the neighborhood and draw more people.”

Plus, there’s long been a demand for a grocery store downtown, especially from the many downtown-ers who’ve given up their cars, she adds.  

Whole Foods, which has several Twin Cities locations, is also adding stores in Edina and Minnetonka.  

Michael Bashaw, the company’s Midwest regional president, underscores in a prepared statement that the Twin Cities is an area of growth for Whole Foods. “We’re extremely excited to expand our offering of natural and organic products to an even greater customer base,” he says.  

Source: Whole Foods, Joanne Kaufman, Warehouse District Business Association
Writer: Anna Pratt

Banks Building reaps the benefits of $65,000 solar array

A year after the 1910-vintage Banks Building in Minneapolis's Warehouse District installed a tenKsolar array on its rooftop, the savings are already starting to show up.

Dan Schaffan, who is the building's property manager, says that owner Schafer Richardson wants to find ways to save energy that go beyond building maintenance. 

When Schafer Richardson looked at the holdings in its portfolio, the five-and-two-story office complex turned out to be the most doable in terms of solar power. "You have to consider things like the age of a roof," Schaffan says. 

The solar array cost the company about $13,000 to install, though it would have been closer to $65,000 without the subsidies that it was able to get, he says.

Although it takes almost a year to show results, the solar array saves the building about $3,500 a year in electrical charges. At that rate, the technology will pay for itself in about four years, he says, adding that it's expected to last 30 years. 

He says the company likes this system because "[The panels] sit on top of the roof with some ballasts. They're designed to stay on top of the roof even during strong winds....They collect solar energy and turn it into electricity, using a converter."

The company has an agreement with Xcel Energy, which will buy any extra solar power that the array generates.

The building's tenants have been supportive. "All of the tenants are concerned about the common area's maintenance charges and what the owners are doing to lower their cost," says Schaffan.

Source: Dan Schaffan, building property manager, Schafer Richardson
Writer: Anna Pratt

Shea marketing and design firm to relocate to old Shinders space

Shea, a marketing and design firm, is relocating from its longtime home in Butler Square just blocks away to the old Shinders space in downtown Minneapolis, which has been empty since 2007.

Recently the firm signed a lease for the two-story building, which faces Hennepin Avenue, while the design is in early planning stages, according to Shea spokesperson Andy McDermott.

Shea's offices will go on the second floor, with a ground-level reception area, taking up 8,000 square feet of the building's 22,000 square feet total. A restaurant will share part of the first-floor space, for which the details are still being worked out, he says.  

Although most of the 1947 building will get a facelift, original stone on its exterior and interior terrazzo floors will be preserved, according to company information.

Over the past decade, the company has worked with many businesses from one end of Hennepin Avenue to the other. "We encouraged clients to take a chance on [the street] even when developers weren't interested," he says. 

Currently, Shea is working on the new Lunds store and a restaurant called Butcher & Boar at 12th and Hennepin.

"For whatever reasons, there's been a glut of space there for a while," he says. "But we've always seen it as a great central location with good demographics, a great office population, and a scene at night."

It's why the company nabbed the highly visible corner space on the avenue. "We're seeing a resurgence on Hennepin," he says, adding, "We're happy to be a part of it."

Construction will start in January, and Shea will be in the new space by July 2012, according to company information.

Source: Andy McDermott, spokesperson, Shea
Writer: Anna Pratt

Local Alliance Francaise planning for future building renovations

This summer, the Alliance Française in Minneapolis's Warehouse District spruced up its cobalt-blue façade.

Now, it's shifting its focus to some "much-needed renovations" inside, according to Christina Selander Bouzouina, who leads the Alliance.

As it is, guests have to ring the buzzer to enter the 1880s building. Although the buzzer is a security measure, "It's not the most welcoming introduction to the organization," she says.  

Once someone does get into the building, a large staircase confuses matters. "People aren't sure which way to go," she says. "It's kind of off-putting."

To address those issues, the Alliance wants to relocate the second-level reception area to the ground floor to greet people right away when they walk in, she explains.

However, this change means, "We'll lose the beautiful classroom that you can see from the sidewalk," which, she adds, is the only accessible classroom in the building.

As a result, the Alliance will need to install an elevator.

Other questions center on whether classrooms should be added to its existing 11, and, in particular, if more space should be devoted to its growing list of children's offerings.

A room that's equipped for cooking lessons is also under discussion.  

The renovations are part of a long-term strategic plan that goes back to when the Alliance bought the building in 1998.

Although the details are still up in the air, Bouzina estimates that the project will run around $500,000, for which a capital campaign is in planning stages.

The idea is to aim for a "goal that's achievable, that we're excited about and that meets our purposes," she says. "We want to be sure it's meeting our needs but that there's no empty space."   

Source: Christina Selander Bouzouina, executive director, Alliance Française of Minneapolis St Paul
Writer: Anna Pratt

The Bachelor Farmer revamps historic warehouse space in North Loop

The Bachelor Farmer restaurant is introducing the first rooftop urban farm to Minneapolis, while also fully renovating an historic warehouse space in the North Loop neighborhood.

The Nordic-themed restaurant, which recently hosted a series of "soft openings," is part of a larger effort from brothers Andrew and Eric Dayton to turn around the 1881 brick-and-timber warehouse, according to restaurant information.

In 2008, the Daytons acquired the property, which once housed McMillan Fur and Wool, Northwestern Grease Wool Co., and Marvel Rack.

The restaurant has an 85-seat main dining room and a 15-seat bar, while the second floor has some additional dining and private space. 

Throughout the renovation process, the Daytons, who are the sons of Governor Mark Dayton, were "careful to preserve as much of the original character of the building as possible," a prepared statement about the restaurant  reads. 

In keeping with the building's history, the restaurant dubbed one section the Marvel Bar. A men's clothing store is planned for next door, according to Heavy Table.  

Cydney Wuerffel, a spokesperson for the restaurant, says that it's still a work in progress. "While they've quietly opened the doors to The Bachelor Farmer, the team is still in the process of transforming the space," she states in an email.   

In a recent Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine story, Stephanie March describes the space, which has a fireplace, skylight, and lounge, as one that "celebrates the inherent beauty of the old aesthetics, while bringing in a new, cool vibe. The old floorboards will be preserved, but there might be a cutting-edge mural on the wall."

Source: Cydney Wuerffel, media contact for The Bachelor Farmer
Writer: Anna Pratt

Greco Real Estate has a $25 million project to redevelop Holden Building into market-rate apartments

In the coming months, the local firm Greco Real Estate Development expects to close on the financing for the $25 million redevelopment of the Holden Building in downtown Minneapolis's North Loop neighborhood.    

Greco plans to convert the seven-story Holden Building, which dates back to the 1900s, into a 120-unit apartment building, with one- and two-bedroom market-rate units, according to Arnie Gregory, a principal from Greco.  

A combination of state and federal historic tax credits and tax-increment financing from the city will help make it happen, Finance and Commerce reports.  

The red brick building, which comprises 181,568-square-feet, once housed Holden Graphic Services, but it has been vacant for several years, according to Gregory.  

Common areas on each floor will be different; Some areas will be dedicated to coworking, library, community recreational activities, an art gallery, and a rooftop deck that will have a party room. There's the chance for "a lot of presentation on each floor because of the depth of the building," he says.

Additionally, a sizable workout room could have cardio equipment, free weights, and a Pilates-type studio, he says. Another 8,600 square feet of commercial space will be split between offices and a bar/restaurant, according to Gregory. The development also includes 86 parking stalls inside, with another six outside.  

Construction will probably begin this summer and continue for about a year, with the building opening next summer, he says.

North Loop has proven to be a strong area for development, he adds. "The neighborhood speaks volumes for itself. It's quite successful. People want to live here."

Considering the building is so close to the new Target Field, the downtown area, and nearby light rail transit, there's a lot going on. "There's a huge demand for market-rate rental apartments in this neighborhood."

Source: Arnie Gregory, a principal at Greco Real Estate Development
Writer: Anna Pratt

North Loop abuzz with warehouse conversion, playground construction and 'The Wave' discussion

Minneapolis' North Loop may not be as forested as other more outlying neighborhoods of the Twin Cities, but this autumn brings colorful changes there anyway.

Known for being stocked with living spaces converted from former warehouses, the North Loop will finally see redevelopment of a warehouse building that has long been on the market: the Holden Building at 607 Washington Ave. N., which dates from 1910. Local firm Greco Development has a purchase agreement for the 180,000-square-foot building and plans to convert it into apartments.

Greco's Arnie Gregory says it'll take about $25 million to rehab 180,000 square feet of "old, boarded-up, vacant building" into 120 apartments (half affordable, half market rate). He'll rely on a mortgage of $12--14 million as well as "pay as you go" tax-increment financing. He expects downtown service workers will snap up the affordable units, while the market-rate apartments will go to young professionals. The basement and first floor will have 100 stalls of parking, a 5,000 square-foot annex will house retail or a bar, and each residential floor will have a common area, possibly including co-working space. Why buy it now? Gregory credits state tax credits for re-use of historic buildings.

"The neighborhood is always glad to see an imposing older building re-purposed for active uses," observes David Frank, president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association. Greco is scheduled to present the project to the association's planning and zoning committee next week, according to Frank.

Something the North Loop is not so well known for is a sizable population of children. But the facilities to attract and maintain a (much) younger population will see a significant increase with the addition of a new playground at 400 W. River Pkwy. Construction of the playground begins this week, with a big boost coming next month: a national convention of park officials has designated it as their public-service project. A series of fund-raising dinner events is underway.

But the North Loop's biggest new feature is Target Field, where the Minnesota Twins began play this season. One of the facility's most admired public features is a plaza designed by local landscape architect Tom Oslund and an adjoining parking-ramp screen called "The Wave" by California-based artist and MacArthur Fellow Ned Kahn. Oslund and Kahn will share the stage for an artist talk at noon, Sept. 16, at the Minneapolis Central Library. Later that day, beginning at 6 p.m., an  interactive musical event will celebrate "The Wave."

Source: Arnie Gregory, Greco Development; David Frank, North Loop
Neighborhood Association
Writer: Chris Steller

Last leg of Cedar Lake Trail traverses downtown Minneapolis to river

It's deserving of a golden spike--or maybe a golden kickstand.

Sometime in November the nation's first bicycle freeway is due to reach the Mississippi River from the west, through the difficult terrain of downtown Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council voted July 2 to fund completion of Phase III of the Cedar Lake Trail, at a reported cost of at least $9.2 million for a single mile. Work begins this month.

Rather than do battle with motor vehicles on surface roads, bicyclists will be able to follow the final leg of the trail along a semi-subterranean path. They'll travel in a railroad trench, alongside tracks carrying freight and commuter trains, from downtown's near-north outskirts through the Warehouse District to West River Parkway.

If other sections of the Cedar Lake Trail look something like an interstate freeway cutting across wild, open land, Phase III will have the feel of an inner-city freeway slicing through the urban core, Renderings by engineering firm URS show a paved bike roadway running next to sheer embankment walls and under long sections of elevated highway, all the while enclosed by chain link fence. (See PDF.)

At the trail's new end, riders will emerge into more bucolic surroundings, descending a ramp through the Federal Reserve Bank's private wildflower garden to the serpentine river road, just upstream from the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

As a trailhead for commuters planning to pedal westward home, the new east entrance will be much easier to find than the trail's current starting point beneath the Royalston Avenue overpass.

Don Pflaum, city transportation planner, says other access points in the new section will be at Washington Avenue and Target Field.

Source: Don Pflaum
Writer: Chris Steller

Development will usher out downtown Minneapolis� last manufacturer, known for changing mural wall

The next wave of development will usher out the era of manufacturing in downtown Minneapolis. If all goes well with Hunt Associates' purchase of Merit Printing in the Warehouse District, a residential tower will one day rise where a lowly, one-story printing plant now stands.

"We are the last manufacturing firm in the downtown area," says Ron Boerboom, co-owner of Merit Printing, which has outgrown its longtime home and is looking for a new site, either in Minneapolis or an inner-ring suburb. "I'm sure the city would like to see us out of here," Boerboom adds; trucks backing up to loading dock doors create congestion on the street.

But the modest structure at the corner of Second Street and First Avenue North is known for more than occasional impediments to traffic. For more than 15 years, the company has hosted one of the largest and most celebrated mural walls in Minneapolis.

Sometimes called a legal graffiti wall, Merit Printing's ever-changing mural started with the full sanction of the city, a project of the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board. Within a few years, YCB handed off the wall to Juxtaposition Arts, the North Minneapolis hip-hop art school. Since then, Juxtaposition has completely repainted the long wall on the building's First Avenue side every year or so.

"It's a good thing," says Boerboom. "It put Merit on the map." He often sees people stop to take pictures and fashion shoots take place in the company parking lot "on a weekly basis."

Source: Ron Boerboom, Merit Printing
Writer: Chris Steller

First Avenue expands with new Depot Tavern

The former Greyhound bus terminal in downtown Minneapolis completes its transformation this month into a total-package nightspot, with the opening--alongside the First Avenue and 7th Street Entry nightclubs--of the new Depot Tavern.
It is in the one part of the historic building that up until now has not been devoted to music, dance, and drink; most recently it held a storefront UnBank. But after what First Avenue's Madchen Davis says was "a long time coming," the Depot Tavern will serve bar food and drinks to clubbers, Twins fans and anyone else tempted by the aroma of bacon-wrapped Diamond Dogs wafting through the garage door that faces the sidewalk and will be open whenever the weather permits.
Davis, who works in promotions, says First Avenue saw that music fans were looking for a place to grab grub before or after a show. Even during a show, doors will allow movement between the Entry and the tavern. Davis says the Depot Tavern is about the size of the Triple Rock Social Club on the West Bank, maybe bigger.
With monitors streaming live video from performances taking place in First Avenue's Main Room and the neighboring Entry, Davis calls the Depot Tavern a perfect Plan B when shows are sold out. And it will also provide an opportunity for underage fans to catch acts (albeit on a flatscreen) that they might otherwise have to wait years to see.
Source: Madchen Davis, First Avenue
Writer: Chris Steller

Rusty the water tank gains icon status over Target Field

Every city worth its salt has at least a few water tanks rusting atop century-old buildings. The lucky ones might score a paint job during a rehab or get depicted in a cityscape hanging on a coffeeshop wall. But few are brought to life like Rusty, the water tank overlooking the Minnesota Twins' new Target Field in Minneapolis' Warehouse District.

Every night since the Twins' home opener, projected images have animated the water tank's visage � most notably, "Rusty," a googly-eyed face that is already an unofficial team mascot and neighborhood icon. From his perch on the roof of the Wyman Partridge Building, Rusty winks, whirls and ogles at the action below, on and off the field (see video).

With a tank-head standing on support legs, "the water tower looks like it could be a person anyway," says Rusty's creator, Brock Davis, an artist who works by day at Carmichael Lynch, an ad agency in the same building.

The company asked Davis to do something creative with the tank in anticipation of its new prominence above the ballpark. Davis had admired European light-show projection work; that simple idea won out over more elaborate and expensive options.

In the future, the automated projections may key off of baseball results or use images that people submit via the Web. But Rusty's industrial-age roots will keep him a nostalgic, even primal presence. "It feels very retro to me," Davis says. "You look out into the darkness and there's something looking back at you."

Source: Brock Davis, Carmichael Lynch
Writer: Chris Steller
28 Warehouse/North Loop Articles | Page: | Show All
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