New high-rise planned for Loring Park

Chicago developer seeking approvals for a high-end, 36-story apartment tower

A Chicago developer is planning a 36-story, 355-unit luxury apartment tower in the Loring Park neighborhood — one of the largest construction projects in the pipeline for the metro area.

Magellan Development had initially planned condos for the site at 14th & LaSalle in 2005, but that project stalled when the condo market tanked.

The proposal for the high-end tower is scheduled to go before the Minneapolis Planning Commission in October, said Brian Gordon, vice president of Magellan Development.

The project is expected to cost more than $100 million. An illustration of the building suggests it would be a sleek, glassy tower a couple of blocks from Loring Park on a site now home to a parking lot. The building would also feature 18,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and 252-stall parking garage, according to a memo from Hilary Dvorak, a senior city planner.

The developer is seeking a rezoning approval and conditional use permit to build taller than the height limit of 2.5 stories (35 feet) for the area, according to Dvorak’s memo.

John Van Heel, chair of the Land Use Committee for Citizens for a Loring Park Community, said the group hasn’t had a chance to discuss the project with Magellan yet.

“There is excitement about the proposal, but also some concern,” he said. “We look forward to working with the developer and the community to help make this the best project that it can be.”

City Council Member Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) said she’s supportive of the project.

“Given what I have seen and what I know now, I am thrilled to see such an ambitious, dense and beautifully designed project,” Goodman said. “This is a good location for a new high-rise and has been approved for this use in the past. I am excited about the possibility and hopeful the economy and financial markets will allow Magellan to proceed this time around.”

Pending city approval, Magellan would start marketing units next February, Gordon said.

The goal is to complete construction by early 2013. While price points haven’t been set, they would be on the high end of the market.

The apartment project, like many others in Magellan’s portfolio, would offer many high-end perks for residents, including a 24-hour doorman and a business center, spa, exercise room and pool on the fifth floor.

The developer is bullish on the apartment market in the Twin Cities. Recent reports indicate the vacancy rate for downtown Minneapolis is about 1 percent.  

Gordon suggested Magellan’s proposed tower would offer unparalleled amenities in the area. “There’s nothing like what we do,” he said, adding that more people are opting to rent because of the difficulty of securing home loans and the burden of being tied down by a mortgage.  

He said the company is considering other apartment projects in the Twin Cities down the road. So far, Magellan has focused on residential and commercial real estate projects in the Chicago area.

Several other apartment projects are in the development pipeline for downtown neighborhoods — including another one in Loring Park. Developer Brad Hoyt recently secured approval from the City Council to move ahead with plans for a seven-story, 124-unit apartment project at 401 Oak Grove in Loring Park despite concerns about its height in proximity to Loring pond.

Other large-scale apartment projects in the planning stages for the downtown area include a seven-story, 280-unit apartment building planned for the former Jaguar dealership site that would include a new Whole Foods grocery store at street level, and plans from two developers for more than 500 new apartments at the Pillsbury A Mill complex.