When one thinks of sweeping high rises, one often envisions the streets of New York, Chicago or Miami. However, this recent trend of providing luxury living space for young professionals and urbanites is sweeping the nation. Specifically, the growth of luxury apartments in Minneapolis has goals of altering the city to provide sustainable and high-density living options in the heart of the business and transit corridor.
Even for lower-income populations, such as the college community surrounding the University of Minnesota campus, corporations are using the high demand for urban housing to provide luxurious ‘green’ options. Among the new developments underway, 7West stands out as being the first housing unit in the University District to strive to be recognized by LEED. By converting a parking lot into apartments that maximize the use of natural lighting and minimize waste, 7West hopes to attain LEED Gold. Both the high environmental goals and the chic modern design of this project demonstrate a shift in architecture aspirations in the city.
Outside of the University zone, the popularity of luxury apartments is even more pronounced. More specifically, two new high-rise apartments, The Nic on 5th and the LPM Apartments, are expected to reshape the face of downtown with their unveiling in mid 2014. Being the first thirty-plus story high-rises in over thirty years, the projects are hope to create a strong network among the light rail based transportation, the skyway system, and the chain of ground level restaurants and retail. By converting space that previously contained standard two-story buildings and parking lots, the city hopes to strengthen the pedestrian-friendly downtown corridor with these and many other similar developments. These buildings will also be seeking LEED certification.
Although beautiful and typically more environmentally conscious, we must be mindful as this does come at a cost. Being that housing in Minneapolis is at a low (with a vacancy rate of 2%), housing is in high demand. The apartments above are all speculated to start at $1,000 per month to rent. Although typical for Minneapolis, we must be mindful of the changes, such an increase in costs and loss of building diversity, that will occur under mass real estate growth.
How will mass luxury developments alter the face of Minneapolis? Do the costs of living interfere with the sustainable aspects of the building's design? Do these modern high-rises take away from the historic sense of the city?
Images by Abbey Seitz. Renderings from Startribune.com. Data linked to sources.