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Stanton plans condos near Downtown East

Residents of the Sexton Lofts (at right) occasionally use the vacant lot at 516 S. Eighth St. in Minneapolis as a dog park. Developer Jim Stanton plans to build condos on the site. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Stanton plans condos near Downtown East

By: Adam Voge August 27, 2014 3:27 pm 0

The Minneapolis neighborhood surrounding Ryan Cos. US Inc.’s $420 million Downtown East project is already set to gain new apartments, restaurants, a stadium and offices for 5,000 Wells Fargo & Co. employees in the coming years.

Now developer Jim Stanton wants to build condos there.

Stanton, owner of Coon Rapids-based Shamrock Development, has purchased a 0.64-acre lot and is planning a roughly 15-story building with about 110 condos, he told Finance & Commerce on Wednesday.

The building would rise at 516 S. Eighth St., immediately south of the existing Sexton Lofts, which include more than 140 units on seven floors. The surrounding blocks include several projects nearing or already under construction, and the project site is about three blocks south of Ryan’s project.

“I think that area is all going to take off a little bit,” Stanton said, noting the Ryan development, the new Minnesota Vikings stadium and other projects. “I’m excited about all that stuff.”

Stanton declined to share the sales price of the lot. He said the deal closed “two or three weeks ago,” but a certificate of real estate value was not available as of Wednesday afternoon. The property is valued at $707,900, according to Hennepin County tax records. The seller is Maine-based Rock Properties Management, which was represented by Kevin Mullen of Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty.

Shamrock has discussed the project with city officials at least once and will submit a project application “shortly,” Stanton said Wednesday. Most details of the project are still “not firm,” he added.

City spokesman Matt Lindstrom said no application for the site has been filed yet.

The latest plans are much smaller than some drawn up for the same lot. Before the condo market tanked, developers JTT Development and Regency Homes proposed a 34-story tower with 282 units in 2006. But that project never came to fruition.

The owner of JTT later became tied up in a long-running mortgage fraud trial involving the Sexton and was eventually sentenced in 2010 to 27 months in prison.

The Elliot Park neighborhood has long supported additional housing on that site.

“I think the community will be very excited about condos there,” Lynn Regnier, executive director of the Elliot Park Neighborhood Inc., said Wednesday.

Although Stanton’s newest project would be independent of the Sexton, the two buildings would likely have some tie-ins. For example, the developer has negotiated with the Sexton homeowners association to provide some parking for them.

The decision to build condos would make Stanton one of the few operating in that sector downtown. Developers Curt Gunsbury and Robb Miller have proposed a much smaller 24-unit building in the North Loop, and Minneapolis-based Alatus LLC is considering making its proposed high-rise building in St. Anthony-Main a condo tower with about 185 units.

A separate Stanton proposal for 360 condos called The Eclipse, at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Washington Avenue downtown, is the only other such project on the city’s books at the moment.

Apartment development is far more popular downtown at the moment, but market researcher Mary Bujold said Wednesday that there has always been a demand for condos downtown.

“The market is still pushing for rentals, but I think we’re going to get to a point in the next 24 months where we’re going to hit the wall for rental,” said Bujold, president of Minneapolis-based Maxfield Research. “There is always a market for some for-sale” residential properties.

That includes Stanton’s new Stonebridge Lofts, a 164-unit building across from Gold Medal Park. Only eight units in that building remained unsold as of Wednesday, a pace Bujold called “very quick.”

As for the Eclipse, Stanton said Wednesday that he wants 1.8 parking spots for each condo in the building, which has drawn apprehension from the city. Regulation calls for about 1.6 spaces per unit.

Until he gets his parking, Stanton said, the project can wait.

“Basically until the city decides we can have more than 1.6 parking spaces per residence, I would not take a chance on it,” he said, adding that many condo buyers want two parking spots, instead of just one. “On the bulletin boards at these projects, I consistently see ‘Wanted: One parking spot,’ and they’re paying a lot for them.”

The Eclipse would also have to provide about 80 parking spots for neighboring businesses that currently use the site for parking, Stanton added.

It wasn’t clear Wednesday how many parking spaces Stanton would want for the condo building on Eighth Street.

St. Paul-based Oertel Architects designed the Eclipse and will design the new building.

Frank Jermusek, president of St. Louis Park-based Northco Real Estate Services, brokered the latest land deal for Shamrock.

Several other projects are moving forward mere blocks from the Sexton. Immediately to the south, Kraus-Anderson is planning a new 80,000-square-foot headquarters. About two blocks southeast, Hennepin County Medical Center plans to start work soon on a $191 million downtown expansion.

Other projects under discussion include Sherman Associates’ 175-unit apartment building and 120- to 140-room hotel, an overhaul of the Minneapolis Armory, and a Ryan apartment tower next to the Vikings stadium. The details regarding the tower are expected to be fleshed out over the next several months.

If all goes to plan, Stanton said he would like to break ground in time to start building vertically by March.

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