A major redevelopment project has taken a big step forward toward bringing a range of housing opportunities to Minneapolis.
Sherman Associates has broken ground on two developments—Ladder 260, a 90-unit affordable housing development, and O2, a 240-unit market-rate apartment tower. The firm also celebrated the completion of the new Minneapolis Fire Station 1, the first phase of the project.
The redevelopment is on an approximately 1.75-acre site on Portland Avenue, which was formerly a vacant surface parking lot and the former fire station that was built in 1909. The new station, Ladder 260, and O2 are three separate projects that are being simultaneously developed.
Sherman acquired the parking lot from a private seller and in working with the city learned that Fire Station 1 was outdated and too small to serve the growing needs of the Mill District. The Minneapolis-based firm and the city collaborated to develop a new and larger station to serve the neighborhood and optimize the layout of the city block for Sherman’s housing developments.
“Our partnership with the city of Minneapolis on the redevelopment of this underutilized city block was critical to achieving our goal of delivering high quality affordable and market-rate housing to downtown residents,” said Chris Sherman, president of Sherman Associates.
The fire station is approximately 19,500 square feet and consists of an apparatus bay to house fire trucks and a connected two-story structure providing office space, sleep areas, common areas, locker rooms, and rooftop patio. The $12 million fire station was financed by American National Bank and the city.
The Minneapolis Fire Department moved into its new station after the city purchased it from Sherman, which will demolish the old fire house to prep the site for Ladder 260.
Officials noted that local nonprofit Firefighters For Healing will retrieve significant elements from the old building to incorporate into its new Transitional Healing Center opening in early 2023. Sherman also plans to use items from the old fire station to incorporate into Ladder 260.
An Affordable Place to Live
The six-story affordable housing development will feature one- and two-bedroom apartment homes with 72 units at 60% of the area median income (AMI), 13 units at 50% of the AMI, and five units at 30% of the AMI. There will be 18 units receiving project-based housing vouchers, with five of the apartments reserved for high-priority individuals who have been homeless.
Amenities will include a hotel-like lobby and leasing center, a fitness room, a sixth-floor lounge and rooftop deck, bike storage/parking, and available storage units. The location is close to transit and is highly walkable and bike friendly. The $34 million development is being financed by RBC Community Investments, American National Bank, National Bank of Commerce, JLL, AFL-CIO HIT, Minnesota Housing, and the Metropolitan Council LHIA.
The other key component is O2, the 22-story market-rate housing development, which will feature smart home technology in every unit, including smart thermostat, locks, and lights that allow residents to easily monitor energy usage in their homes. An underground parking garage will provide 196 parking spaces, 241 bicycle parking spaces, resident storage, and electric vehicle charging stations. A surface lot provides 26 parking spaces for residents and guests.
Amenities will include a modern hotel-like lobby, a demonstration kitchen, a sauna and relaxation room, a pool deck, a fitness room, a group yoga studio, a top-floor amenity deck, a conservatory, a rooftop patio, grilling stations, coworking space, and bike storage.
O2 provides approximately 5,500 square feet of street-level commercial space along Washington Avenue to build on the activation in the area.
The $115 million apartment tower is being financed by a bank group led by Associated Bank.
Energy usage for Ladder 260 and O2 will be partially offset by energy production from a solar garden located in Carver County.