Midtown Exchange Fills New Housing Gap

Midtown Exchange to Fill New Housing Gap

Apartments, condos and townhomes will be marketed to a range of incomes


June 2004—For decades the Sears center at Chicago and Lake supplied household goods to the Minneapolis region. Now the site's redevelopment is relying on housing to support its mix of uses. Starting in 2006, the Midtown Exchange will offer approximately 350 units of new housing geared toward a range of incomes from 50-percent area median income (AMI) to market rate. 

These include rental apartments and for-sale condominiums within the original 1928 former Sears building as well as for-sale townhomes to be developed in a new building immediately to the east. 

Throughout the comeback of the Phillips neighborhoods, renovation has far outpaced new construction in housing. But as housing values continue to rise for the older stock of homes in Phillips West, Midtown Phillips and East Phillips, the market for new housing has opened, particularly for multi-unit developments catering to singles and small families. 

This development trend, begun in the Uptown neighborhood, has moved eastward along the Lake Street-Midtown Greenway corridor into Phillips.

Sherman Associates, Inc., an award-winning local developer that has been active in the Uptown boom, will put around 300 one- and two-bedroom units into the historic 1928 former Sears building. Eighty-eight of the units will be condominiums with an average sale price of $220,000.  The balance will rent for 50-percent AMI, 60-percent AMI and market rate.

Elizabeth Flannery, the project manager for Sherman Associates, said, "We believe the diversity of price points and will lead to enormous success because they reflect the diversity of the market. All will be modern, loft-like and located in the heart of an exciting urban area."

The location between Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway, Flannery said, is perhaps the strongest amenity. In addition, the proximity and access to transit, services, and employment will be major attractions.

Sherman Associates is currently marketing two other projects located adjacent to the Greenway at 29th and Bloomington and 29th and Bryant. One is affordable rental and one is high-end condominiums. Both are renting and selling at well above initial expectations, Flannery said. 

Across 10th Ave. from the 1928 building will rise a new, 1,425-stall parking ramp wrapped by for-sale townhomes. Project for Pride in Living, Inc., will develop the housing portion of the new structure, calling it "The Greenway at Midtown." Units will face 11th Avenue and the Midtown Greenway, softening the appearance of the six-level parking ramp.

Margaret Dondelinger of PPL says the average price of the one-and two-bedroom townhomes will be in the $185,000 range. As “workforce housing”, at least 25 percent of the units will be marketed to households with incomes at or below 80 percent of AMI. 

Although still in the market analysis phase, the concept plan calls for 21 two-story townhouses, with street access, and 32 one-level condominiums range in size from 800 to 1400 square feet.