New condos offer a floor of your own

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January 17, 2005 // UPDATED 1:48 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

St. Paul-based developer MSP Cos. is moving forward with plans for a flashy, 9-story "boutique" condo development at South 10th Street & Marquette Ave., across from the Hilton Minneapolis.

Dick Zehring, owner of the commercial real estate and development services firm, said the proposal is based on stately Manhattan lofts.

The proposal calls for eight spacious 3,500-square-foot units that would occupy a full floor each. A lobby and parking garage would go in the first floor of the 167-foot-tall building.

Each unit would feature 15-foot-high ceilings, a fireplace and a 600-square-foot balcony. Finished units are expected to sell for more than $1 million, Zehring said, though they can be bought unfinished.

The project's name will likely be 1016 Marquette Ave., Zehring said.

The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) is expected to review the proposal Feb. 1.

A preliminary illustration of the building called for a modernistic and boxy tower with open balconies - a design that generated some criticism from Downtown community leaders.

City Councilmember Lisa Goodman (7th Ward), who represents the area, said " I love the [infill] concept," but early illustrations of the building reminded her of Cedar-Riverside and Soviet-style architecture.

On Jan. 14, Zehring e-mailed Goodman and essentially agreed.

"I have rejected the design and asked the architects to capture a different but modern approach to interior design, one which is timeless, using high-quality materials (including polished stone) and one which is not reminiscent of Cedar-Riverside."

Despite the design dust-up - and a flood of condo projects expected to hit the market this year -Zehring said he's optimistic about his project's fate.

"It would be one-of-a-kind. People have asked how in the world can you be developing more condos - essentially, it's just a few units. I don't think there's any place in town you can get that kind of square footage," he said.

As for the million-dollar-plus pricetag, Zehring said, "I think the market for these kinds of units is very shallow, but I think we'll be able to attract enough in this building to sell it out. I would love to live in it myself," he said.

Fifty condo projects are in the pipeline for Downtown, according to Skyway News research.

The condo project would be a block from Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, and on the same block as a 48-story condo tower proposed by a group of local developers led by landscape architect Jeff McDonell of Barbour/LaDouceur Architects, 129 2nd St. N.

The building would replace a small, vacant brown building between WCCO-TV and the Dahl Violin Shop, 89 S. 10th St.