Living it up at Latitude 45

Finance & Commerce –

With the Mississippi River and the downtown Minneapolis skyline as its backdrop, the 13-story Latitude 45 apartment building made a splashy debut this week after 18 months of construction.

During a Thursday night grand opening gala, visitors came in from the rain to sip wine and beer, eat hors d’oeuvres, listen to cello and piano music, and get a first-hand look at the 319-unit building from the concierge desk to the top-floor lounge.

Developed by Minneapolis-based Alatus LLC, the new building at 301 Washington Ave. S. is no ordinary apartment tower, according to the project team.

“It doesn’t feel like a rental community at all,” said Brandi Donaldson, regional manager for Chicago-based Laramar Properties, which is managing the building. “This is condo quality; a home. That is a big thing that we are emphasizing here.”

About 40 units are already occupied as of Thursday, a week after construction wrapped up, Donaldson said. In all, roughly 100 units – or 30 percent — are leased.

By comparison, the 253-unit Nic on Fifth tower at 465 Nicollet Mall, also managed by Laramar, had about the same number of leased units when it first opened, though Nic on Fifth had fewer total units so the percentage was a bit higher, she said.

Still, “we are right on projections, which is great,” Donaldson said.

Designed by ESG Architects of Minneapolis and built by Bloomington-based Doran Construction, Latitude 45 joins a crowded field of new apartments in downtown Minneapolis.

Latitude 45’s neighbors include Nic on Fifth, which opened last fall, and the 262-unit 4Marq tower, scheduled to open later this year at 400 Marquette Ave. Hundreds of other downtown units are under construction or in the pipeline.

Since fall 2011, 20,194 apartment units have been proposed, or are in development throughout the 13-county area, according to Finance & Commerce’s online Apartment Development Tracker.

Bob Lux, founder of Alatus LLC, said at Thursday’s event that Latitude 45 differentiates itself in the market in a number of ways, including the way it was built.

“We are a concrete-constructed building, so we have 13 floors of concrete versus five or six stories of wood,” Lux said. “And when you’ve got concrete, you’ve got better acoustics; it’s a more permanent feel to the resident.”

By building 300-plus units instead of 200 or fewer, the project team had the economies of scale to offer an impressive lineup of amenities, he said. That includes a pool, a dog park, a bocce ball court, fitness areas, top-floor lounge with fire pits, and a lounge area for bicyclists.

Lux praised the work of Doran Construction, which completed the project on time and under budget.

According to building permits from the city of Minneapolis, the building’s construction value is $51.67 million, not including the first-floor Eastside restaurant build-out, swimming pool, earth work and footings and foundations.

With help from a Dow Thermax exterior wall system, Doran was able to cut in half the amount of temporary heat needed during winter construction and improve efficiencies, said Scott Casanova, Doran’s vice president of construction.

“You have no condensation, so you get no susceptibility to mold later on. The system works really well. Basically, we eliminated the stage of putting on the weather barrier in the middle of the winter,” he said

During a tour, visitors checked out features such as the top-floor sky lounge, which looks down at the Mississippi River, the Stone Arch Bridge, Guthrie Theater, Milwaukee Road Depot and other downtown sites.

Folding doors separate the outdoor lounge deck from a cozy interior club area equipped with a full kitchen suitable for catering. Residents can reserve the space for their parties and gatherings.

Guests also saw a first-floor bicycle room with a couch, flat-screen TV, and vending machine stocked with inner-tubes and other bike supplies, and a fourth-floor dog park comes complete with a “puppy spa.”

The dog park also boasts a small dog play area, doggie play equipment, a turf-covered filtration system, and benches for residents to sit on while Fido gets some exercise.

The units themselves feature quartz countertops, stainless steel sinks and appliances, living spaces with laminated hardwood floors, and bathrooms with dual vanities, among other amenities.

Units range in size from 472 to 1,201 square feet and in cost from $1,250 to $3,200, said Emily Tarr, community manager at Laramar Group.

Throughout the building, the interior design favors natural light, multi-functional spaces, and durable materials such as natural wood floors, marble, glass and steel, said Ann Fritz, ESG’s interior design director.

“Alatus was willing to push it and really trust their design team and that gave us freedom to do some amazing things that I think outshine a lot of the competition right now,” she said.

Lux said the overall project “speaks well to the dynamics of Minneapolis” and the surrounding community.

“It’s really fun to do these large projects,” he said. “I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to do this stuff, and with a great team. It’s all fun.”

By: Brian Johnson
Date: Sept 25, 2015 2:23 pm CST
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