Developer George Sherman of Sherman Associates, Council Member Jacob Frey and Dan Collison of the East Town Business Partnership throw the first dirt as part of the East End Apartments project. Photo by Eric Best

Developer George Sherman of Sherman Associates, Council Member Jacob Frey and Dan Collison of the East Town Business Partnership throw the first dirt as part of the East End Apartments project. Photo by Eric Best

Sherman Associates breaks ground on apartments, Trader Joe’s

Updated: August 30, 2016 - 9:39 am

The East End Apartments project in Downtown East will feature a Trader Joe’s grocery store.

Sherman Associates has officially broken ground on a six-story apartment building in Downtown East.

Representatives from the developer and local leaders ceremonially shoveled the first scoop of dirt Aug. 24 as part of the 180-unit East End Apartments project. The mixed-use development, which will feature a Trader Joe’s grocery store, will replace a surface parking lot at Washington & Chicago in the quickly growing East Town area.

“We are happy to celebrate the death of surface parking lots,” said George Sherman, principal of Sherman Associates, to a crowd at the site.

The $57-million apartment project, which is set to open in spring 2018, will feature two levels of underground parking. Trader Joe’s will have approximately 16,000 square feet of space on the building’s main level for grocery and liquor stores.

The developer is also converting the historic Thresher Square office building adjacent to the site into a limited-service hotel. Sherman said they will officially announce a hotel partner in the next 60 days.

The projects represent an investment of about $110 million, he said.

East End TJ Render

Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3) said communities are brought together around grocery stores and, until now, the neighborhood hasn’t had that. University of Minnesota students will also be just a couple light rail stops from the store, he added.

“I cannot overstate what a grocery store does for the neighborhood,” Frey told The Journal.

Minneapolis Downtown Council President and CEO Steve Cramer called the grocery store a “tremendous asset for downtown.”

“I don’t think anyone could have imagined what this area of downtown would have been like five years ago, and now here we are and the momentum is just going to continue,” he said.