“Lifestyle for Rent”

Mill District City Apartments: “More Like an Urban Resort”

The handsome complex rising at 225 Portland Avenue, Minneapolis—across from the Guthrie Theater, and overlooking Downtown and the Mississippi River—is the fifth project in the Twin Cities to be brought to fruition by Village Green, provider of quality rental units since 1919.

Speaking at the groundbreaking for this $25 million endeavor in October 2009, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said, “Under some of the most challenging economic situations, many people came together, and put the extra effort in to make this project a reality. The perseverance of our city’s economic development staff, local leaders like US Bank, and the incredible team at Village Green are showing that Minneapolis is open for business, and that great things are happening in our city even during these difficult economic times.”

Photo Courtesy of Village Green

Recently, Village Green CEO and Chairman Jonathan Holtzman discussed the development of Mill District City Apartments with Lavender.

Holtzman recounted, “Village Green has been in Minneapolis since 1995. We have chosen Minneapolis, because people have consistently thought that Minneapolis represents an excellent lifestyle with an excellent quality of companies, a positive political environment, as well as a commitment to housing for people living in Minneapolis-St. Paul.”

Village Green’s four previous Minneapolis projects are Eitel Building City Apartments, Lake Calhoun City Apartments, Loring Park City Apartments, and Uptown City Apartments.

Holtzman explained that Village Green’s latest project is “based on the knowledge and experience gained from [these] four communities, responding to renters living at our other apartment communities, as well as to the companies that we do business with for corporate relocation and furnished apartments. Mill District City Apartments represents the taste and style of finishes incorporated into a green building meeting the standards developed by the National Association of Home Builders [NAHB] and the National Multi-Housing Council [NMHC], equivalent to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] standards.”

Asked about the rationale behind creating apartment complexes, rather than buyer-owned condo or town house communities, Holtzman replied, “Regardless of single-family homes going up or down in value, renters will rent for a period of time before they decide to purchase a home or condominium. There is actually an increasing demand for apartment rental. Minneapolis-St. Paul companies hire young people out of college who will rent before they buy, as will renters relocating to Minneapolis, divorced individuals before they buy again, and empty-nesters downsizing from a house or condominium to a rental apartment. We have seen a very clear trend towards urban, modern, brand-new, and green.”

That rental trend is being made a reality in the 175 furnished/unfurnished units in Mill City District Apartments, which include a dazzling array of amenities for the renter (including flexible lease terms). Surrounding a 14,000-square-foot private, professionally-landscaped park, the studio to three-bedroom and penthouse options offer 30 floor plans from 500 to 1,400 square feet. Units boast 9- to 18-foot ceilings; white or cherry finish cabinets; granite islands in kitchens; fireplaces; built-in wine racks; “sexy” (according to the literature) bathrooms; private entries with walkout patios; bay windows; custom walk-in closets; and three balcony choices.

Should you ever wish to leave your new digs, you can venture out to meet neighbors at the indoor/outdoor movie theater, lounge with your electronic toys near wireless hot spots, or shop at the onsite 3,500-square-foot specialty market.

By locating Mill District City Apartments within walking distance of the Mississippi River, culture, shopping, art, entertainment, and work, Village Green is able to provide residents with, as the literature puts it, “the energy of a city together with the serenity of the building’s private park”—a heady mix not offered to any other local complex.

But Mill City District City Apartments, like Village Green’s previous projects, brings more to the city than the luxury and security it provides its residents.

Holtzman stressed, “Real estate is a major employer of architects, engineers, suppliers, subcontractors, manufacturers, and employees. Each one of Village Green’s apartment communities is a major contributor to the economic benefit of the city, i.e., real estate taxes, plus [residents] living Downtown spend money in the neighborhood, and utilize mass transit to attend cultural and sporting events.”

Not confined to Minneapolis, or even to Minnesota, developer Village Green has been an owner/operator of apartment communities—40,000 apartments in 140 rental communities in 13 states—for 91 years.

Holtzman stated, “We believe this is an excellent business offering an alternative to ownership to our growing customer base of individuals and companies. Rental apartments at Village Green are a ‘Lifestyle for Rent,’ offering flexibility, amenities, and services that are not enjoyed with home ownership. When an individual decides they want to be an owner and no longer a renter, Village Green assists by utilizing some of their rent towards the purchase of a home or a condominium.”

Village Green operates its communities under five distinct brands: Village Green, City Apartments, Regents Park, Village Park, and Leading Furnished Suites.

According to Holtzman, “We compare our brands to Porsche, Ralph Lauren, W Hotels, and Apple, because consumers—our renters—are looking for a brand that appeals to their lifestyle. Each Village Green brand is designed for what they perceive for different customers. The suburban communities that Village Green owns and operates are different than our urban communities. Village Green has communities that are reasonably priced, and also has communities priced as a luxury brand. As a rental owner/operator, we are trying to serve as many customers as we can in our various markets. If we succeed with location, quality, resort-class amenities, timesaving services, and a green building, this creates a successful apartment community for Village Green, the City of Minneapolis, and for our residents.”

Holtzman noted with pride, “Village Green professionals have been with our company for many years, and are, therefore, integral to our philosophy of creating a ‘Lifestyle for Rent’ at our apartment communities. Village Green believes in its philosophy to be part of the community, from Mayor Rybak to Council Member Lisa Goodman and all the various departments in the City of Minneapolis, as well as the local neighborhood and business groups. We do not see ourselves as an ‘out-of-town’ owner/operator, but part of the local community.”

First occupancy is scheduled for this fall, with completion in early 2011.

For more information, visit www.villagegreen.com.

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