November 21, 2012 by southwestjournal
// By Ben Johnson //
MILL DISTRICT — A plan to convert the historic Ceresota building from commercial offices to an apartment complex is moving forward.
Architect Ken Piper, from Tanek Inc. and building owner Ross Dworsky presented to the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) on Nov. 13 and the DMNA passed a motion to provide a letter of support to the city for the project.
“We’re going to be in front of the planning commission in a couple of weeks, and, pending approval, we’ll start to see things fall into place,” said Piper.
The Ceresota building at 155 5th Ave. S. was originally built in 1908 as a public grain elevator for the Northwestern Consolidated Grain Company. The 165-foot tall structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was converted into commercial offices in 1987. Today most of the Ceresota Building’s 92,081 square feet of office space sits vacant.
Earlier this month Marquette Advisors reported an extremely low 2.8 percent apartment vacancy rate across the Twin Cities, so despite a surge in newly-constructed and planned apartment buildings, demand remains high.
The early plans for the conversion call for 117 studio and one-bedroom apartments. In addition to the historical significance of the site, Piper pointed out that its location seems prime for an urban residential population.
“The location of the Ceresota Building and its access to the Stone Arch Bridge, the trail systems, to the Guthrie, and just that vibrant part of downtown, as well as the central business district, I think it really lays itself to contributing to the residential base of the growing downtown,” Piper said.