An old East Bank warehouse used for distributing fireplaces and barbecue equipment has gone condo like so many other formerly forlorn Downtown buildings.
The Calumet Lofts under construction at 127 NE 5th St. are among the more-affordable and unique condos on the market Downtown, ranging in price from $124,000 to $297,000.
Most of the Downtown condos currently on the market range from $300,000 to $500,000.
The project sits on the edge of tracks that might be used for the proposed Northstar Commuter Rail line linking Big Lake with Downtown. For now, the East Bank rail section is known as the "graffiti corridor" for its plentiful tags.
Project developer Fred Lehman, who has rehabbed old buildings in South Minneapolis for commercial tenants, has partnered with Xcel Energy to make the 35-unit loft project more energy efficient. The South Minneapolis-based Green Institute will harvest old flooring for reuse. Other eco-friendly features include plans for native plants in the landscaping and installation of a retaining pond.
"A lot of developers aren't focused on these sorts of things," Lehman said. "I believe that remodeling and renovation is more sustainable. It goes hand-in-hand with environmental stewardship."
The lofts feature 10- to 13-foot ceilings with large, airy windows. Each floor plan is slightly different, but all feature one big open space with no walls dividing the kitchen from the living room or bedroom. The d/cor is exposed brick and Douglas fir woodwork.
The lofts are expected to be complete by November. As of early February, 19 people had placed reservations on the 35 Calumet units.