Condomania strikes again

Categories: Minneapolis

Whole Foods, "luxury" condo development planned

This just in: Another condo development proposal has been unveiled in Minneapolis. But, hey, this one is notable for a couple of reasons.

First, the development includes a Whole Foods, bringing a third proposed grocery store downtown. Second, it's going on what has been the the Jaguar dealership site for more than 40 years. That site has long been a potential backup for a Twins Stadium, but apparently that fading prospect is finally no more.

From the press release:

"Milliken Development Group today announced it has purchased the property to develop a $180 million mixed-use project in the heart of Minneapolis occupying an entire city block on the corner of Washington and Hennepin Ave. South, featuring a 76,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, 250 luxury condos and 6,500 square feet of retail space.

Groundbreaking will begin in spring 2007 for the project tentatively named The Marketplace Tower, with construction projected to take approximately two years. Completion is expected by spring 2009."

Click through to read the entire missive.

MILLIKEN DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES
PLANS FOR THE MARKETPLACE TOWER

Downtown Project to Occupy City Block, Combine Whole Foods, Luxury Condos

Minneapolis — Milliken Development Group today announced it has purchased the property to develop a $180 million mixed-use project in the heart of Minneapolis occupying an entire city block on the corner of Washington and Hennepin Ave. South, featuring a 76,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, 250 luxury condos and 6,500 square feet of retail space.

Groundbreaking will begin in spring 2007 for the project tentatively named The Marketplace Tower, with construction projected to take approximately two years. Completion is expected by spring 2009.

"The Marketplace Tower will bring a sense of community and accessibility to a growing, centralized area downtown," said Don Milliken, president and founder of Milliken Development Group. "We've been responsible for similar projects in the Pacific Northwest and are looking forward to recreating and building on our success with The Marketplace Tower."

The development will be anchored by a Whole Foods Market, an upscale retailer of organic foods. Above the Whole Foods will be a 35-story tower alongside two low-rise towers that will be between four and eight stories each. Parking is provided underground with separate parking for shoppers and condo owners.

Milliken said he is looking forward to meeting with city officials to lay out plans for the development. "We are excited to talk with the city to make sure the project fits with the city's vision of the neighborhood’s development."

Renderings for the project are not yet available as architecture teams are still formulating plans. Design details for The Marketplace Tower include an array of architectural details and a one-acre piazza.

The Whole Foods store will be one of the nation's largest, about twice the size of most grocery stores. In addition to a variety of organic food and produce, the store will feature a wide selection of restaurant-style food for home consumption or for in-store dining.

The site is currently occupied by Downtown Jaguar, which will remain open through 2006.

Plans for The Marketplace Tower are similar to 2200 Westlake--a Milliken Development project in Seattle's trendy South Lake Union neighborhood--a 550,000-square-foot mixed-use urban community that includes a Whole Foods Market, a 160-room Pan Pacific Hotel and 261 condominiums throughout three towers.

2200 Westlake shattered records in the Seattle market for per-square-foot condo prices, and recently won 17 awards in a national competition.

According to Milliken, depending on market conditions and other variables, condo pre-sales for The Marketplace Tower may begin as early as next autumn. He added that they are considering developing a full-scale sales center to give prospective buyers a detailed view of the development, and how it will positively affect the neighborhood.

"We are absolutely convinced that we've found the perfect nexus between neighborhood and development," Milliken added. "The demographics of the area tell us that Whole Foods will be a perfect fit. Couple that with tastefully designed condos and the former auto lot will become the hottest property in Minneapolis."

The project is funded by three investors including Milliken Development. Milliken has selected RSP Architects to design the structure, and has not announced the contractor.

The awards won by Milliken's Seattle project were given by The Nationals, the nation's largest competition for new home sales and marketing professionals. Under Milliken's direction, 2200 Westlake received Regional awards for Best Logo Design, Best Graphic Continuity, Best Brochure for a Community, Best Color Ad, Best Special Promotion, Best Sales Office Urban, Best Signage Program, Best Landscape Design for an Attached Project, Best Interior Merchandising of a Model $400,000-$650,000, and Best Attached Home Plan Printed Over $400,000. Silver awards were given for Best Graphic Continuity, Best Website for a Community, Best Sales Office Urban, Best Signage Program, Best Interior Merchandising of a Model, Best Attached Home Plan, and Attached Community of the Year.

Milliken Development began 2200 Westlake six-and-a-half years ago with financial project partner Vulcan Inc., a real-estate organization founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Milliken sold his interest in the property to Vulcan six weeks ago. Construction of 2200 Westlake will be complete in 2008.

About Milliken Development

Seattle-based, Milliken Development Group plans inclusive, progressive communities that revitalize metropolitan neighborhoods. Since its inception in 1990, the organization's focus has been to plan and develop mixed-use communities that have a strong retail component at their core. Seattle-area projects include The Marketplace at Queen Anne, The Harvard Market, and TriBeCa, a mixed-use project in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood featuring 51 high-end condominium homes.

Milliken Development Group projects are unique in offering residents of close-in neighborhoods comprehensive solutions to their neighborhood shopping needs, and provide retailers high-quality, urban environments with well-managed pedestrian and vehicular circulation. The company strives to create active and engaging shopping, living and working environments that energize their immediate neighborhoods and add value to the properties that surround them. For more information about Milliken please visit www.millikendevelopments.com.

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