45 story condo tower planned for 10th & Nicollet

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September 6, 2004 // UPDATED 3:58 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Building would have 300 units and match the height of Target's headquarters across Nicollet Mall

Minneapolis architects Janis LaDouceur and John Barbour and landscape architect Jeff McDonell are proposing a 45-story residential tower for the corner of South 10th Street & Nicollet Mall.

If built, the 500-foot-tall tower would be the city's tallest residential tower, surpassing The Carlyle, a 39-story condo tower set to rise near the riverfront at South 1st Street & 3rd Avenue South.

The 300-unit proposal comes in the midst of a major residential boom Downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods.

The tower would rise on the block that is now home to Let It Be Records, 1001 Nicollet Mall, Sawatdee, 1005 Nicollet Mall, and Key's Nicollet Caf/, 1007 Nicollet Mall. The site is owned by Siegel Properties, and McDonell said they have a purchase agreement pending on the site.

"We can't envision a better location for a residential development than on this corner," he said, adding the project would make an architectural statement. "This is not going to be a building that just blends into the skyline."

The proposed tower would be as tall as Target Corp.'s headquarters, 1010 Nicollet Mall, across the street. However, the condo building is 13 stories taller because commercial stories are typically 15 feet high compared to 9 feet for a residential building.

As with early designs, the proposed height is subject to change, McDonell said, adding that the group has met with city officials and plans to submit an application to the city's Planning Commission this fall.

The group will also go before the Citizens for a Loring Park Community in coming weeks. Technically, the development is within the borders of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, but the Loring group has long been concerned about tall buildings encroaching on their neighborhood, which begins south of 12th Street.

The tower would be bordered by the historic Handicraft Building, which houses the breakfast hotspot Hell's Kitchen, 89 S. 10th St., and the Church of Scientology, 1011 Nicollet Mall.

McDonell said the architects would work to keep "small, locally owned" businesses at the site, including the current tenants. The Handicraft building would also be preserved and restored with new windows, among other things.

The area's City Councilmember, Lisa Goodman (7th Ward), said she is heartened by those plans.

"It is very important to me and our community that whatever development moves forward at 10th [Street] and Nicollet/Marquette that the Handicraft building be incorporated and/or restored as part of that project," she said. "It is my understating that these developers have made that commitment. Because of that, I am grateful and excited about the future of this half block in a prime location Downtown."

McDonell said the group isn't worried about a potential condo glut. More than 50 projects are in the pipeline for Downtown, according to Skyway News research.

He said the Nicollet Mall condo tower would have an advantage to other developments near the riverfront and the North Loop: a central location close to several popular restaurants and retailers.

Barbour/LaDouceur, based in the Warehouse District at 129 N. 2nd St., has an impressive architectural resume with several awarding buildings around the country, including the renovation of the Donaldson Hotel in downtown Fargo, N.D. The firm has designed museums, heritage centers, transit centers and schools.

Locally, Barbour/LaDouceur designed Downtown's Government Center light-rail transit station at South 5th Street & 3rd Avenue as well as Franklin Avenue and Bloomington stations.

Earlier this year the American Institute of Architects honored LaDouceur with a National Young Architects Award -- an award given to five people in the country.

In a letter nominating LaDouceur for the award, David Dimond, president of AIA Minnesota wrote: "She is a designer who dreams hand-in-hand with her clients to shape spaces that capture the essence of her client's identity. Janis' thoughtful storytelling is consistently reflected in her work, especially with regard to how her architecture reveals a passion for serving small and underserved clients in intense, artful and meaningful ways."