By: Matt M. Johnson, Finance & Commerce
Posted: March 7, 2018
Edina developer Luigi Bernardi and Ryan Cos. US Inc. are making good on a promise to take a rejected Edina condo tower plan somewhere else in the Twin Cities. That somewhere else is the downtown Minneapolis riverfront.
The development partners on Tuesday night unveiled plans to a Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association committee for a 39-story condo tower at 1101 W. River Parkway, in the Mill District.
Named “The Eleven,” the tower somewhat resembles initial renderings for one of the two Estelle Edina towers Minneapolis-based Ryan and Bernardi proposed last year for a site near the Galleria shopping center.
The Edina City Council rejected the project because of the height and incompatibility with nearby single-family neighborhoods. But the development partners didn’t scrap their plans – they settled on a location Ryan had considered for some time.
As Finance & Commerce reported last November, Ryan sold the West River Parkway site for $21.2 million to a Bernardi entity called Arcadia on the River. At the time a city of Minneapolis spokeswoman confirmed that Ryan and Bernardi had made initial contact about the site but didn’t offer any plans.
The Eleven would be built on a parking lot next to a low-rise office building on the property.
Bernardi foreshadowed the Minneapolis project, saying in an October interview with Finance & Commerce that the Estelle plan would come back as a taller tower somewhere else.
“We’re going to reuse the plans we worked so hard on somewhere else,” he said at the time. Bernardi also signaled he expected to close on the site’s purchase.
The 101-unit Eleven will rise next to the late Jim Stanton’s 375-unit Legacy condominium complex under construction at 1240 S. Second St. Eleven will also be within sight of a 42-story, 214-unit condo tower Minneapolis-based Alatus LLC plans to build at 200 Central Ave. SE.
Eleven will consist of the tower and a six-story pedestal base, and will be clad in limestone, said Carl Runck, Ryan’s director of real estate development. The building will have about 3,000 square feet of retail space on the West River Parkway side.
The project is aimed at a different market than those other two condo projects in Minneapolis, said John Wanninger, who is leading the Eleven marketing at Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty. The slim tower will be “the premier address in the city,” he said, with no more than five units per floor. Some floors will have just one or two units.
Wanninger’s team and the developers have not yet set pricing for the condos. But some units will “compete with the best the Mill District has to offer,” he said. The marketing team has a goal of selling at least one-third of the condos units before Eleven opens in late 2020. Construction is expected to begin in late 2018.
The Eleven’s design will differ in the details from the Ryan-designed Estelle towers. The high-profile New York-based Robert A.M. Stern Architects will bring a 1930s Neo-Classical look to the tower, Wanninger said.
“This is not Estelle 2.0,” he said in an interview Wednesday.
Even if Estelle had gone forward, Ryan still would have built the Eleven project, Runck said.
“This is a sited project we’ve had our eyes on for quite some time,” he said Wednesday.
Runck declined to say how much it will cost to build Eleven. The estimated project cost for Estelle Edina was $250 million, Finance & Commerce reported previously.
The Eleven has not yet started the entitlement process with the city. The project will get an initial evaluation later this month from the Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole, Wanninger said.
The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association’s land use committee unanimously approved the building’s concept on Tuesday, said Kevin Frazell, the committee chairman. The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the association’s full board write a letter of support for the concept.
The association has been advocating for more condos downtown as an alternative to apartments. A Marquette Advisors report predicts about 6,000 new apartments will be delivered in the Twin Cities in 2018.
“Clearly one of the things the DMNA has been advocating for is owner-occupied condominiums,” Frazell said in an interview.
There are currently 71 condo units for sale in downtown Minneapolis, according to Lakes Sotheby’s.
The scarcity of downtown condos has pushed prices up, said Cynthia Froid, a Keller Williams real estate agent who specializes in condos. Luxury condos on the river generally sell at between $1,000 and $1,300 per square foot, she said. Forty percent of her listings are sold before they are even listed on the Multiple Listing Service because she has a list of clients looking for downtown condos, she said.
If it is built, the Eleven will bring needed inventory, she said.
“A project like this will certainly loosen up the logjam in downtown for sure,” Froid said Wednesday.