528 N. Washington Aenue

200 APARTMENTS PLANNED FOR NORTH LOOP'S DUFFEY PAPER BUILDINGS

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A Chicago developer has some big plans in store for the C.J. Duffey Paper buildings in the North Loop. 

Cedar Street Companies is planning a restoration of the six-story Minneapolis Iron Store Building (528 N. Washington Avenue), the Minneapolis Iron Store Warehouse (520 N. Washington Avenue) and the Lindsay Brothers Warehouse (508 N. Washington Avenue).

When complete the three buildings will contain 200 market-rate apartments and 19,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. According to the plans the project will be called “The Duffey Lofts.”

The residential units within the buildings will include studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom layouts. At the moment 147 (74%) of the units will be studios, 47 (23%) will be one-bedroom units and just 3 (1.5%) of each of the two and three-bedroom units will be included. The final shake out of those unit numbers could change as the design/planning of the project is further completed.

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Residents would have access to multiple amenities on one underground level, one at grade level, level four and level seven (we’ll get to that in a second). One unique amenity space that would be found within The Duffey Lofts would be the 4,116 square foot crane room which features a completely intact large overhead industrial crane.

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When it comes the mentioned seventh floor that’s something that the developers are proposing to construct on top of the Minneapolis Iron Store building. That floor would be home to an outdoor lawn and lounge space, a clubroom and residential units that each would have their own private outdoor space. 

84 parking stalls would be included within the project that would be located both indoors and outdoors. Space for parking would be found indoors on one underground level and one at grade level along with an exterior surface parking lot.

THE DESIGN

Construction was completed in 1916 on the Minneapolis Iron Store buildings and the Lindsay Brothers Warehouse. All three buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places which means the developers and architects needed to pay particular attention to the past when designing The Duffy Lofts. 

While the exteriors would be restored to look as close as possible to their original design, the developers would also rebuild a large sign that adorned the top of the roof of the Minneapolis Iron Store Building in the past. The sign, which would face downtown, likely would say “Iron Store” as that is what is most likely said in the past. It also looks like the developers are proposing another sign in the same fashion along Washington Avenue that will say “The Duffey Lofts.”

As mentioned earlier, the developers are also planning to add a rooftop to the Minneapolis Iron Store building. Being this new structure would be an addition to the historic structure they wanted to ensure it was out of sight from the streetscape. Plans for the rooftop have it slightly set back from the Washington Avenue façade in order to protect the historic look of the building.

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THE PREVIOUS PROPOSAL

Now, if you remember back to late last year another developer had a proposal for these same buildings.

Dominium, that nation’s second largest affordable housing developer, was planning on converting all three structures and building a fourth structure that in total would have included 210 units of affordable housing. However, after Dominium and the City of Minneapolis were unable to come to terms on the long-term affordability of the units the developers cancelled the project.

Dominium worked with BKV Group to design their proposal and so has Cedar Street Companies which is why the overall exterior design for the project hasn’t changed much. 

One major thing that was missing from Dominium’s proposal that is included in Cedar Street Companies proposal is ground floor retail space. Many felt that ground floor retail space was a requirement for the redevelopment of these buildings as they not only cover almost an entire city block, but they are also located in the heart of the North Loop’s retail and restaurant scene.

There is one other difference when it comes to Dominium’s plans and Cedar Street Companies plans. Dominium was proposing to construct a seven-story residential building on what today is a surface parking lot to the right of the existing buildings. Cedar Street Companies is proposing to keep that surface parking lot and is planning for it to include 31 parking spaces. As a part of keeping the surface parking lot the developers would completely repave the lot, add a vegetated planting buffer and also a low decorative fence in order to help separate the lot from the active streetscape.

Last but not least, when it comes to the insides of the buildings we could go on and on about the differences between Dominium’s plans and Cedar Street Companies. However, the plans are pretty complex and as much as we’d love to include 100 pictures within this post and twenty more paragraphs of text, we are instead just going to link the current plans here.

NEXT STEPS

Cedar Street Companies plans for the Duffey Paper buildings have already been presented to the Minneapolis Planning Commission Committee of the Whole. Updated plans in regards to the feedback will be presented to the Minneapolis Planning Commission for approval in the coming weeks.

We’ll be sure to post more about this project and any updates that are going to be made to the plans right here on our website.