First residents move into Soo Line apartments

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November 14, 2013 // UPDATED 1:22 pm - November 25, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
The lobby at the new Soo Line Building City Apartments at 5th & Marquette.
Sarah McKenzie

DOWNTOWN CORE — The first residents have moved into the 254-unit Soo Line Building City Apartments at 5th & Marquette.

The new apartment development is more than 55 percent pre-leased, according to the project’s developer Village Green.

“To our knowledge, Soo Line Building City Apartments has outperformed any development in downtown Minneapolis, setting a new standard in the Twin Cities luxury housing market,” said Jon Holtzman, CEO of Village Green, the developer of the project.

The building will also feature a restaurant, wine bar, specialty market and skyway-level cafe. The restaurant will be called Brasserie Zentral — a venture from Meritage’s Russell and Desta Klein. It is set to open in the spring. The Kleins will operate the wine bar and specialty market, too.

The Soo Line apartments boast many luxurious amenities, including a spacious lobby with a floating staircase, an indoor/outdoor 20th floor rooftop pool and hot tub, an indoor Sky Club with a kitchen and fireplace, and an outdoor Sky Park with a lounge, sundeck, yoga deck and fire pit, among other things.

The apartment development also features a 24/7 concierge, a fitness center and conference room.

Village Green is planning a grand opening party in January.

Rents start around $1,050 a month for a studio and on the high end, $4,000 a month for a penthouse unit, said Stefanie Balsis, regional marketing director for Village Green.

So far, the building has attracted interest from downtown workers and people relocating to Minneapolis from other cities. The building’s skyway connection is a big draw for people anxious about adjusting to Minnesota winters, Balsis said.

“We are extremely pleased with the leasing progress so far, and it has exceeded our expectations at every turn. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our beautiful community to our first residents and visitors, who have been amazed by the apartment finishes, custom features and amenities,” Balsis said.

The Soo Line building was originally built in 1915 for the First National Bank of Minneapolis and the Soo Line Railroad, which later became part of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was the city’s tallest skyscraper when built and considered among the most elegant in Minneapolis.

The building stood in contrast to other Victorian-era downtown buildings with white terra cotta adorned with “Renaissance Revival-style paraphernalia,” according to an entry written by Larry Millett in MNopedia, an encyclopedia of Minnesota history produced by the Minnesota Historical Society.

The building’s designer was Robert W. Gibson — an expert in the Beaux Arts brand of monumental classicism, according to Millett. It has a large clock on the corner that has remained since its early days.

“The Soo Line-First National Band Building isn’t quite up to the Cartier’s deluxe standards, but it’s in the same family as many New York skyscrapers of the time,” he wrote.

The 19-story building was built with an impressive banking hall on the second color with a 20-foot ceiling. The Soo Line building remained the city’s tallest skyscraper until 1929 when the Foshay and Rand towers surpassed it, according to Millett.

The Soo Line building was home for 400 Canadian Pacific Railway employees before Village Green decided to convert the building for apartments. The employees moved to One Financial Plaza, 120 S. 6th St., which was later renamed to Canadian Pacific Plaza in the spring of 2012.

Village Green, a developer based in Farmington Hills, Mich., also has apartment communities in Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis and St. Paul.

In Minneapolis, Village Green also manages the Eitel Building City Apartments in Loring Park, the Mill District City Apartments and the Track 29 City Apartments in Uptown.

Two other major apartment developments will soon be neighbors of the Soo Line apartments. Opus Development Co. is building the 26-story Nic on Fifth luxury apartment tower at 5th & Nicollet, and Mortenson Development has plans for a 30-story apartment tower next to it called 4 Marq.

The Nic on Fifth will have 253 units and 4 Marq is expected to have 262 apartments.

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At a glance: Soo Line Building City Apartments

Where: 5th & Marquette

What: A 254-unit luxury apartment tower that has transformed the 19-story Soo Line building.

Highlights: Soon-to-open specialty market, wine bar and restaurant; indoor/outdoor 20th story rooftop pool and hot tub; indoor Sky Club on the roof with a kitchen, fireplace and lounge area

Website: www.soolinebldgcityapts.com