Top Projects of 2018: East End Apartments

When Sherman Associates moved into the Old Spaghetti Factory building at 233 Park Ave. in 2001, owner George Sherman envisioned eventual development of the large surface parking lot that was part of the property. At the time, that area of downtown Minneapolis was awash in parking lots. So it wasn’t until about 10 years later, with development on the upswing, that Sherman’s plans began to take shape.

Sherman’s project manager, Shane LaFave, provides that back story as a prelude to a newer one about the completion last year of the East End Apartments project on that site.

According to LaFave, Sherman was looking for a strong commercial anchor tenant to be part of the project, and in 2015 Trader Joe’s agreed to be that tenant.

“Then,” said LaFave, “we were off and running.”

The six-story apartment building, which features a distinctive multicolored metal-panel exterior that resembles brick from a distance, contains 180 units that range from 450-square-foot studios to two-bedroom penthouses. Along with Trader Joe’s, a coffee shop and a sandwich shop are also at street level. LaFave said the project posed challenges because it required the construction of a 355-stall underground parking facility to serve the entire block — including the recently opened Canopy by Hilton Hotel in the former Thresher Building at the corner of South Third Street and Park Avenue. Similarly, the necessary utility relocation was a major task, he said.

The developers also built a large underground tank to collect stormwater, which is filtered and added to the Minneapolis water supply. In addition, all tenants have the option of subscribing to power from Sherman’s own solar garden near Mayer, Minnesota, and receiving a 10% discount from what they would pay to Xcel Energy.

The project has provided a valuable addition to downtown Minneapolis, LaFave said. “People can still feel connected to downtown or have a quieter experience nearby on the river,” he said. “It’ a unique location.”

Address: 240 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
Project cost: $56 million
Project size: 297,686 square feet
Owner: Sherman Associates
Contractor: Frana Cos.
Architect: ESG Architecture & Design
Engineer: Meyer Borgman Johnson (structural); Major
Mechanical Inc. (mechanical); and Alliant Engineering (civil)

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