Co-developers Arcadia LLC and Ryan Companies US, Inc. are changing downtown Minneapolis’ skyline with the construction of ELEVEN, a condominium tower that will become the tallest residential building in the state when it officially opens. The tower will also be the tallest building to rise in Minneapolis since 1992.
Ryan Companies and Arcadia in April celebrated the topping out of ELEVEN when construction crews raised the final steel reinforcement beam and placed it into concrete.
Construction on ELEVEN, a building that is notable, too, for being the first residential project in Minnesota for famed architecture studio Robert A.M. Stern Architects, is now more than two-thirds complete. Impressively, buyers have also already purchased two-thirds of the project’s residential units, even before the property is slated to open in early 2022.
And this happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many homebuyers have fled urban downtowns for suburban locations.
What, then, has set ELEVEN apart? Why has demand for these new luxury residences in Minneapolis been so strong?
Carl Runck, director of real estate development with Ryan Companies, said that it’s about the quality of construction, the high-end amenities and ELEVEN’s location in Minneapolis’ popular Mill District neighborhood.
“There is a pent-up demand for this type of project,” Runck said. “The Mill District neighborhood is a popular part of town. People have a continued desire for larger units, the kind we are offering. We have the tall ceiling heights that buyers want. We have large terraces. We have best-in-class amenities. We also have the last available great site along the Mississippi River.”
This combination has made ELEVEN a popular destination for residents seeking the benefits of urban living.
Now that much of the structural work on the project has wrapped, construction crews are now focusing on ELEVEN’s residences, amenities and landscape elements. Local design firms Martha Dayton Design, PKA Architecture and custom homebuilder Streeter have created their own design packages. Buyers can select from these the color palettes, material selections and cabinet design offered by these partners. At the same time, local custom home builders John Kraemer & Sons and Streeter are working with half- and full-floor buyers on custom-designed interiors.
The 42-story building with 118 residences includes such amenities as a landscaped roof deck with a 25-yard pool; a private motor court; the region’s first 24/7 doorman; property management services provided by industry veteran Sudler Property Management; a fitness suite with steam, sauna and yoga rooms; an indoor multi-sport court; a demonstration kitchen with dining; club lounge space; billiards room with golf simulator; library; and board room.
The tower also includes a 3,500-square-foot chef-driven restaurant space on the street level.
Runck said that since the beginning of the year, ELEVEN has seen an average of two sales a week. And these buyers have come from downtown Minneapolis, the western portion of the metropolitan area, the eastern portion of the area and out of state.
“This project is seen as a unique offering that is unavailable anywhere else in the upper Midwestern states,” Runck said. “There has been nothing like ELEVEN until now.”
What sets this condominium project apart from other residential buildings in Minneapolis? Runck points to the involvement of Robert A.M. Stern Architects. This firm is one of the most respected on the globe and has designed some of the most valuable buildings on the planet.
The views are impressive, too. Runck said that Ryan Companies sent a drone camera up 20, 30 and 40 stories from the construction site. What the camera captured were panoramic views of the Stone Arch Bridge, Gold Medal Park and the downtown Minneapolis skyline.
“There are no other residences in Minneapolis that have a trifecta of views like this,” Runck said. “We have the right views and the right team to create the most sought-after address in the Twin Cities.”
Architecture firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects designed ELEVEN with Ryan Architecture + Engineering as architect of record. Ryan is also the co-developer and design-builder. Arcadia LLC is the sponsor and co-developer. Lake Sotheby’s International Realty is the exclusive listing agent.
Officials with Ryan Companies and Arcadia toured several dozen high-end condo buildings in North America while planning ELEVEN. The goal was to take the best features of these buildings and incorporate them into ELEVEN, including amenities and finishes from the 70 Vestry and 20 East End condos in New York City and No. 9 Walton in Chicago’s Gold Coast.
The developers also toured several onsite fitness centers before crafting the one in ELEVEN. The goal was to create a best-in-class center that also offers river and city views. The developers hired Jay Wright Fitness for concept consulting, a company known for developing onsite fitness centers in some of the most exclusive buildings in the world.
Some of the amenities included with ELEVEN are heated outdoor private terraces, charging stations for electric vehicles and elevators that operate at 1,000 feet a minute. Sensors in the elevator lobbies detect residents’ cell phones, giving them the power to easily control the elevator cabs.
ELEVEN also includes the AtmosAir bi-polar ionization air-purification system in common areas. This system is also available to residents in their individual units. This, of course, becomes an important feature for residents interested in the cleanest possible air during pandemic and post-pandemic times.
The condo tower will also feature a 24/7 doorman, the only residential building offering this amenity in Minneapolis. Building manager Sudler Property Management has a nearly 100-year history of managing luxury residential buildings in Chicago. This will be the company’s first management assignment in the Twin Cities market.
Developing a project like ELEVEN always presents challenges. Doing it during a pandemic? That’s even more difficult. The construction loan for the project closed right before COVID began upending life in the United States. Then the protests and social unrest following the murder of George Floyd hit downtown Minneapolis.
“Last year was a challenging time for the downtown market,” Runck said. “But we held our own. No buyers backed out that we had signed at that time. And now we are seeing an uptick in sales.”
Runck said that the strong sales numbers for ELEVEN, even during such a challenging time for downtown, did not surprise him.
The for-sale market has been particularly strong in the Twin Cities area in the last six to eight months. This isn’t surprising, either. People have been spending more time in their homes during the pandemic. This has led many to rethink their living spaces. Many have decided to upgrade their homes, especially those who are considering spending more time working from home in the future.
“We expected this project to attract buyers,” he said. “What we didn’t expect was a 100-year pandemic and civil unrest. But we did know that we had created a rare offering in the Twin Cities. We knew that a star architect had designed a world-class residence. We knew that our development thesis was addressing a market that had previously been unserved in the Twin Cities.”