A signature development for downtown Minneapolis, the 222 Hennepin project is a prime example of urban infill development. The mixed-use building adds to the vibrancy and convenience of downtown Minneapolis with 286 luxury apartments and a Whole Foods Market, the first in the downtown area.
Ryan Companies co-developed the 580,000-SF space with the Excelsior Group, specialists in multifamily development and property management. Ryan was also the architect of record and design-builder for the project. Features include spectacular views of the Mississippi River and downtown skyline, plus a fourth-floor terrace with outdoor pool, bocce ball area, fire pit, dog walk, enclosed party room and state-of-the-art fitness center.
Spanning a full city block at the corner of Hennepin and Washington Avenues, 222 Hennepin serves as a major contribution to the downtown and North Loop landscape, while showcasing Ryan as a full-service developer. Taking the project from idea, to completion, to sale, the development drew upon Ryan’s unique ability to manage a large, complex project almost entirely internally, drawing upon skills and expertise across the company.
222 Hennepin was designed by Ryan Architecture + Engineering, in conjunction with Humphreys and Partners Architects. Drawing from the Art Deco tradition and local warehouse flair, the project combines historical context with modern design and state-of-the-art amenities.
The 286 luxury apartments that form the heart of the development are intuitively designed with the upscale renter in mind. Innovative floor plans for individual units make the most of small spaces, while common areas are spacious and inviting. Instead of apartments facing the downtown skyline, which would limit the best views to just a few residents, an amenity-rich, fourth-floor rooftop terrace was created, inviting community engagement and offering stunning views to all residents.
With every part of the design focused on bringing life and vibrancy to the area, the plan prioritizes open, inviting, lively spaces combined with modern functionality. Specifically designed to wrap around and maintain the pre-existing parking ramp, the building is crafted to reflect the urban landscape of the location, with two, seven-story towers at each end along Hennepin Avenue anchoring the building. The large storefront windows along the west side of the building enhance the “boulevard” feeling of Washington Avenue, while showing off Minneapolis’ largest downtown grocery store.
Despite its choice location on a prominent downtown corner, a string of challenges kept the former site of a Jaguar dealership at the east end of downtown Minneapolis vacant. While development projects had been repeatedly proposed and attempted, all previous efforts had been unsuccessful. Seeing a signature opportunity to further the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown Minneapolis, Ryan took up the challenge.
Working directly with the Excelsior Group, a real estate management group with expertise in multifamily ownership and management, Ryan co-developed the residential space. The existing parking ramp at the center of the complex was retained and Whole Foods Market assumed the corner of Washington Avenue and Hennepin Avenue.
In the end, 222 Hennepin achieved its aim of transforming the dynamic of the area, extending the green corridor to the river, while contributing to the City’s goals of boosting the vibrancy of downtown Minneapolis by doubling its residential population over the next two decades. The project connects and supports several distinct neighborhoods, while serving as a catalyst for future downtown improvements.
When embarking on the 222 Hennepin development, Ryan approached the project from the perspective of the neighborhood. With a concept that would include both upscale apartments and a Whole Foods Market, the plan soon garnered the support and enthusiasm of the North Loop and downtown communities, as well as the City of Minneapolis.
The project was designed to meet the needs of the community, and to continue to attract residents to the downtown area. In addition to the Whole Foods, which provided a much needed grocery store for the surrounding neighborhoods, the design of the building and shared amenity spaces were centered on fostering community interaction.
Resident amenities include:
Ryan’s history with finding excellent infill locations worked in our favor as we sought an equity partner that would be right for this development. The Capital Markets Team took the lead; a combination of favorable timing, solid relationships, persistence and a strong strategy for the development allowed them to secure the necessary investors for the $70 million project.
This involved collaboration with Invesco, Ltd., a global investment manager specializing in real estate investments. The 222 Hennepin project exceeded all metrics and expectations, setting a new standard and earning the distinction of highest selling multi-family development in Minneapolis.
The strategic development and building decisions made by Ryan, from start to finish, maximized the value of the property and ultimately led to its sale to its rapid sale to Weidner Apartment Homes of Seattle.
222 Hennepin was a perfect example of Ryan’s continued drive to “do the right thing.”
The most pressing initial challenge was the existence of a parking ramp on site. The decision to keep the existing ramp and design a plan to build around it shows Ryan’s commitment to the environment and to the conservation of resources. In the end, this choice prevented 20 million pounds of concrete and 1 million pounds of steel rebar from ending up in a landfill, in addition to saving the resources that would have been required to transport the material. In the end, keeping the ramp was deemed a better use of resources and an opportunity to recycle a perfectly good structure.
Throughout the project, energy efficiency and sustainability were key components of the design. But this was not without significant environmental challenges that had to be overcome in the redevelopment of the site. In the end the project achieved LEED Silver Certification for Mid-Rise Residential.
When I first saw it, I was in love with the project and couldn’t think of anything that would have made it better. You are smarter than someone who just builds bricks and sticks. You understand the whole spectrum of expertise from start to sale. At the end of the day, what you delivered exceeded all expectations.