Luxury apartment building planned across from Gold Medal Park

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June 17, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Sherman Associates is planning an 11-story luxury apartment tower across the street from Gold Medal Park.

The new apartment building is the long-awaited second phase of Sherman’s development of the Washington Avenue block between 9th and 10th Avenue S.

The first phase of the project was finished in 2008, when Sherman opened the Zenith Condos and Aloft Hotel. The second phase was supposed to be another condo tower, but that plan was put on hold after the 2008 housing crash.

Now with the housing market surging downtown the second phase has been revived, but it switched from condos to luxury apartments.

The apartments will have monthly rents ranging from $1,600 to about $7,000. Architectural drawings presented at the Mill District Neighborhood Association meeting yesterday showed 11 two-story walk-up units at ground level, a rooftop terrace and a courtyard with a dog run between the Zenith Condos and the yet-to-be-named apartment building.

Representatives from Sherman called the new building’s architecture complimentary, but not identical to the Zenith building. The new building will be about 10 feet taller.

Sherman met with Zenith residents last week and plans to present to the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association before submitting a development proposal to the city. Tony Kuechle, Sherman’s senior vice president of development, said November is the earliest construction could start, and he anticipated it taking 18 months.

Why isn’t anyone building condos?

When residents at the Mill District Neighborhood asked about the change from condos to apartments last night, Kuechle said there are two major factors that make condos difficult to build.

“The pre-sale requirements for condominiums have become so high it’s a tough obstacle to overcome, and there’s also a lot of ongoing litigation going on that makes it hard to find an architect and design team that actually wants to work on condominiums,” he said.

Kuechle was referring to increased pre-leasing requirements for condo developments that were adopted by banks following the 2008 housing crash, and a recent Minnesota state law that holds developers, its contractors and subcontractors liable for “major construction defects” for up to 10 years after condos are built.

Still, he said that Sherman may decide to convert the building to condos at some point in the future.

Jim Stanton of Shamrock Development is the only person building condos in Minneapolis right now. He is about to finish the Stonebridge Lofts condo project just down the street from Zenith Condos, and recently proposed two massive condo towers at the corner of Washington and Hennepin Avenue.