WHEN FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich.–based Village Green Cos. selected the site for Mill District City Apartments in Minneapolis, the developer learned that the land had previously been shored and excavated for a hotel. That was fitting, because in planning the mid-rise project, the company wanted an apartment building with the feel of a boutique hotel.

“We believe that apartment communities are moving more and more to becoming hospitality and boutique hotels," says Jonathan Holtzman, Village Green’s chairman and CEO. “That’s the direction new renters want."

Adjacent to historic flour mills and a modern downtown, Mill District, a 175-unit project with 3,400 square feet of ground-level retail space, uses contextual brick massing and details with modern metal forms to develop its own identity while bridging the gap between old and new. The building’s three wings lock together to create a U shape around a courtyard. Two of the wings consist mostly of brick and stone, with the connecting section made of glass and champagne metal.

Inside, the building features a two-story lobby and a multifunctional clubroom space that off ers a game room; a full, granite bar; and a kitchen, among other amenities.

Village Green also believes that today’s renters care about sustainability. That’s why it incorporated water and energy conservation, recycling programs, and low-VOC paint in the construction of Mill District. The developer created an underground stormwater-collection system; used off -site, precut, preassembled wall components to reduce waste and materials, as well as prefinished assemblies that required no chemical finishing products to be applied on site; and installed energy-efficient windows and lighting.

The project, which received National Green Building Standard certification from the National Association of Home Builders, came together fairly easily. “A green building is easy to achieve,” Holtzman says. “There’s no reason every student housing building, every elderly building, and every school building can’t be green or LEED."