The Green Way
A strong core of Minneapolis residents has long favored urban dwelling, but a deterrent to some in the city’s Uptown neighborhood was a railroad–industrial corridor dating from the 1880s. As rail lines ceased to operate, Hennepin County purchased land to transform the corridor into the 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway for biking, walking, and, eventually, a transit system. To bring high-density residences to the area, the local community development agency put out an RFP.
When developer Ross Fefercorn, president and owner of RMF Group in Minneapolis, submitted his RFP for a 2.7-acre site in 2002–03, he envisioned clusters of nine-unit condo townhouses fronting the Greenway, naming the project Track 29 as a nod to its railroad past. He remediated the land and began work on the condos in 2005. But, then, the recession hit and he turned to rentals, instead, partnering with Loren Brueggemann of locally based Phoenix Development Co.
Fefercorn and architect Gaius Nelson of Nelson-Tremaine in Minneapolis drew up plans for two low-rise, contemporary apartment buildings connected by a glass-enclosed lobby. For visual effect, the structures were built at four and six stories and linked with a walkway that mimics the city’s ubiquitous closed skyways. The buildings are sheathed in a renewable African wood that acts as a rain screen. Other green features include on-site stormwater management and sustainable landscaping.