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CONSTRUCTION NEARS ON 26-STORY APARTMENT TOWER IN MINNEAPOLIS

MINNEAPOLIS — The first high-rise rental building in downtown Minneapolis in nearly three decades will begin construction by the end of the month.

Opus Development and Founders Properties, both of Minnetonka, recently shored up financing with SunTrust Bank for a 26-story apartment tower, expected to cost $100 million. Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank is providing the loan.

Next week, crews will demolish a two-story building on the site to make way for the 253-unit tower, called Nic on the Fifth, located on the corner of Nicollet Mall and South Fifth streets. It will go up next to the new Xcel Energy building Opus is also developing.

“With the financing secured, Opus is thrilled to begin work on The Nic on Fifth,” says Dave Menke, senior vice president and general manager of Opus. “Minneapolis is definitely a top-tier city for both equity investors and lenders.”

The high-rise will include 26 penthouses, and Opus also plans to pursue LEED certification for the project. Additionally, the building will boast several high-end amenities, including a 24/7 door attendant and concierge service, outdoor roof terrace with pool and spa, yoga studio, outdoor fire pit and dog play area. It will also be connected to the skyway system.

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The first residents will be able to move in at the beginning of the summer of 2014.

The project is in line with the city's long-term plan to revitalize the north end of Nicollet Mall. The Minneapolis Downtown Council and the City of Minneapolis are aiming to build a linear park, known as Gateway Park, to help drive new development.

“This is a major investment in downtown and we are extremely pleased to be involved in a project that is so instrumental in transforming our Central Business District,” says Wade Lau, the senior vice president of Founders, a private real estate investment firm with more than 100 properties nationwide.

Opus Design Build LLC will construct the building, while Opus AE Group and Elness Swenson Graham Architects will collaborate on the design.

Executives involved in the project were also involved in the 39-story Carlyle and 27-story Grant Park condominium projects.

Liz Burlingame

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