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Minneapolis / The Prime Company refines plans for arrow-shaped apartment building near U of M

The Prime Company refines plans for arrow-shaped apartment building near U of M

MINNEAPOLIS – The proposed complex would house 201 apartments in a narrow, six-story building on 27th Avenue SE. in Minneapolis.

On a small strip of just two acres near the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, developer The Prime Company wants to build an apartment complex that comes to a point.

Elsey has proposed 201 apartments inside a new, arrow-shaped, six-story building at 117 27th Av. SE., where there’s now a commercial building and a railroad spur.

A city staff report presented to the Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole on Thursday included several revisions based on feedback from an initial proposal.

The 43,000-plus-square-foot building will have 14 fewer units and fewer bedrooms than first planned. And it will be 69 feet tall, which is 8 feet taller than the first design. The height of the building will vary from five to six stories to make the building feel less monolithic. And the building will have courtyards and plazas with a stronger connection to the street than many projects, and a more consistent color palate.

Owner Chris Elsey said the project is the first in the Twin Cities for The Prime Company, the parent company for four entities including project architect, Prime Design and general contractor, Prime Built. The building is a longtime hold for the company, which will also self-manage the project.

“We feel like it has a good location where we can serve the market — not just students, but also young professionals that would be associated with the medical field there,” Elsey said.

The Manhattan, Kan.-based company’s nearest project is in Lincoln, Neb. The company is also developing apartment buildings in Stillwater, Okla., and in California.

Elsey said the site is under contract and he expects to close by the end of the year.

Until recently the neighborhoods around the University of Minnesota, including Dinkytown and Stadium Village, were a hotbed of apartment development. But with the market reaching — or exceeding — saturation, there have been fewer new proposals and construction has slowed.

At the end of the second quarter, there were 601 units at various stages of construction, all of which are expected to be ready for occupancy this fall, according to Twin Cities-based NAI Everest. That includes the 66-unit Fourth Street Housing Co-Op Minneapolis, the 202-unit Radius at 15th Project and the 333-unit WaHu building.

That doesn’t, however, include three student housing projects with a combined 570 or so units that are proposed for the area.

Though it’s going to be a market-rate building, Elsey said it was designed to tap into a much broader — and underserved — cross-section of renters by having a mix of floor plans ranging from studios to four-bedroom, four-bath units.

“There’s been a lot of strictly student properties built in the area,” Elsey said. “So we feel that there is potential for more market-rate apartments and our unit mix is going to reflect that.”