Unloved design eclipsed; Washington & Hennepin condos get new look, name

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April 4, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton

A proposed condominium development at Washington & Hennepin avenues has a new look, a new name, and one amenity previously unheard-of in Downtown living.

Shamrock Development, Inc. unveiled plans for the newly dubbed Eclipse condominiums at the March North Loop Neighborhood Association board meeting. The glass-dominated exterior and sweeping curve of one of the two towers are far different from initial designs for the "21st Century Towers," which were poorly received by city officials and neighborhood representatives.

North Loop and the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DMNA) are recommending that the city approve the new design. The project is across Washington from the Lupient Jaguar-Land Rover dealership and just northwest of the new Central Library at 3rd & Hennepin.

Eclipse will rise in phases. The first, 26-story tower, scheduled to open in 2007, faces Washington & Hennepin's northwest corner. The second, 32-story building will rise along Hennepin Avenue. The overall project has 506 units, eight parking levels (four underground) and 32,720 square feet of commercial space, including a drive-through bank.

The project's most noteworthy proposed amenity is a golf simulator, a 30-by-12-foot room in which up to four people can enjoy a virtual 18 holes. Other attractions include a spa and massage studio, card, board and community rooms, and an indoor pool adjacent to glass that can be opened out onto fourth-floor rooftop green space.

Lower floors will house 10 1,000-1,100-square-foot units. Higher floors will feature fewer, larger units; the top four or five floors will have between four and six units.

At the North Loop meeting, Shamrock's Jim Stanton said that smaller condos would start "in the low two [hundred thousands]" and that the largest would have "quite a few zeros behind them."

Shamrock and the Dolphin Family, a development partner, expect to take their plans to the Minneapolis Planning Commission in early May. While there are no height restrictions for the 270- and 360-foot-tall towers, variances will be needed to waive setback requirements, which severely limit foundation size. The former Food and Drug Administration building has been demolished to make way for Eclipse.

When and if plans are approved, Shamrock will begin selling Phase One units from the adjacent Dolphin Staffing building, which will also be removed to make way for the second tower. Construction could begin this summer.