CRE W Minnesota

Village Green to bring luxury apartments to Minneapolis' CBD

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Jonathan Holtzman is a fan of the Twin Cities. He points to the culture available in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the shops, restaurants and night life. It is, as Holtzman calls it, "a truly great city." And that's why Holtzman, chairman and chief executive officer of developer Village Green, is so excited about his company's Soo Line Building City Apartments.

Jonathan Holtzman is a fan of the Twin Cities. He points to the culture available in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the shops, restaurants and night life. It is, as Holtzman calls it, "a truly great city."

And that's why Holtzman, chairman and chief executive officer of developer Village Green, is so excited about his company's Soo Line Building City Apartments. The luxury apartment building -- the first large luxury rental community to be built in Minneapolis' Central Business District in 25 years -- will come with a rooftop indoor/outdoor swimming pool; an outdoor Sky Club and Sky Park also on the roof; a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week concierge; and a lobby that will feature a floating glass staircase.

"This product doesn't exist in the CBD right now," Holtzman said. "The quality is so high. This is a great market, and we wanted to build a community that would attract the resident who wants a high-quality living experience in the heart of the CBD."

Village Green broke ground on the Soo Line Building City Apartments on Oct. 10. The project will bring 254 luxury apartment units to the southeast corner of Marquette Avenue and 5th Street, adjacent to the Nicollet Mall Light Rail Station and Nicollet Avenue.

In addition to the amenities that come with the building, residents will have access to eight miles of the Minneapolis Skyway System. This will allow residents to walk to work, retail shops, restaurants, nightlife spots and cultural and sporting events without ever having to walk outside.

And as Holtzman says, that's a nice feature.

"How many inches did it snow in Minneapolis in early December? 14?" Holtzman asked. "The residents of the Soo Line Building City Apartments will be able to throw on their flip-flops, t-shirts and shorts and walk to the restaurant or store while watching everyone else dig out of the snow."

The Soo Line Building City Apartments is a unique project, too, because of its location. This project actually sits in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, not in a neighborhood near it.

“We have that going for us, this city location,” Holtzman said. “This is a great city. It is a cultural city. There are major sports teams here. There are restaurants and shops. It’s a wonderful place to live. Having a great city is important for a project like this. And we have that great city.”

Construction is expected to wrap in December of next year, though the first residents of the building are expected to arrive in August of 2013.

So far, demand for the building has been high. Holtzman says that he expects the building to be 90 to 95 percent leased by the time crews finish construction.

The Soo Line Building, of course, is a significant one in downtown Minneapolis. The building was originally built for First National Bank of Minneapolis, a predecessor of U.S. Bank, in 1915. At the time, it stood as the tallest commercial building in Minneapolis. The building eventually became the headquarters of the Soo Line Railroad.

Minneapolis city officials, including the top one, say they are excited to see the apartment community rise in the CBD.

"We are thrilled Village Green continues to invest in creating housing in downtown Minneapolis," said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in a written statement. "Not only do their projects bring jobs to the city, but the additional apartment units will allow for even more people to experience living in downtown Minneapolis."

Residents of the Soo Line Building City Apartments will have their choice of 42 floor plans, plans that range from studio apartments to penthouses. Apartment sizes will range from 450 square feet to 1,500 square feet. Ceiling heights will range from 10-foot-6-inches to 24-foot.

The building will also feature a restaurant/bar, specialty market and Village Green's Minneapolis regional office.

U.S. Bank is playing an important role in the project. The bank is providing a $40 million construction loan, $19 million bridge loan and $23 million federal and state historic tax credit commitment through its St. Louis-based community development subsidiary U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.

"U.S. Bank is very proud to be part of this project," said John Besse, executive vice president of commercial real estate with U.S. Bank, in a written statement. "The Soo Line Building is an impressive, historic structure. This redevelopment will enable it to become a premier multi-family property in our downtown area."