Minneapolis North Loop
Itasca Lofts in The North Loop of Minneapolis
When you enter this remarkable loft at 708 N 1st Street in the Historic and award-winning Itasca Building, you immediately notice the blend of natural light, dramatic timber, and brick. The unique architectural combination of modern design and historic elements creates an atmosphere that is both dramatic and intimate.
A True Minneapolis Loft
Do you crave the urban lifestyle? Does exposed brick, wood floors, soaring ceilings, lots of light, views of the city, the romance of the Mississippi Riverfront, and the North Loop right outside your door make your heart beat faster? Then you might fall in love with this fabulous loft too.
Location – The North Loop
The North Loop is known as the trendiest neighborhood in Minneapolis. It has excellent restaurants like the Spoon and Stable and Bachelor Farmer. Beautiful boutiques, hip bars, and Whole Foods. The Mississippi River outside your door with walking and biking trails. It's also a neighborhood steeped in historical significance.
Known as the warehouse district, the area just north of downtown Minneapolis was once a center of commerce for over 100 years. By the '60s and '70s, the neighborhood had fallen into decay. In the '80s, there was a renaissance when developers began to restore and rescue the old industrial warehouses, repurposing them into chic lofts and desirable retail space.
The transformation continues, and the North Loop is the fastest growing neighborhood in the city. "Best Neighborhood" from Mpls/St. Paul Magazine and CityPages, 12th hippest neighborhood in America by Forbes, and "coolest neighborhood" in America by Thrillist are among its recent callouts.
However, in my opinion, the most significant distinction comes from the current owners. "We love the neighborhood and its location. The linear park along the Mississippi is right out the back door, teeming with hawks and bald eagles. The character of the river changes daily. And the vibrant North Loop neighborhood is right out the front door, just a short walk to Target Field, the Guthrie Theater, and downtown Minneapolis."
"We love being able to walk to Whole Foods, the dry cleaner, the local liquor store, and the Minneapolis Farmers Market, not to mention the boutiques and brewpubs that are constantly springing up in the North Loop. Or walking to see a movie at St. Anthony Main, followed by dinner and fresh gelato at the Wilde Cafe."
About the Itasca Building
The Itasca was the first loft condominium development in Minnesota and recipient of the prestigious 2009 AIA Minnesota 25-Year Award. Cunningham Group Architecture developed a plan to transform the 100-year-old building in the heart of the warehouse district into 180,000 square feet of office space and 71 custom condominiums.
The 200 foot long, eight-story glass wall atrium is the most striking feature of the Itasca. The atrium filters sunlight from the upper-level skylight throughout the building, and the circulation on either side provide an inside community of interior "sidewalks" surrounding a central "plaza."
Love What They Did With the Place
The current owners completely gutted and remodeled the space in 2010, carefully preserving the vintage free-standing fireplace and teak-fronted built-in closets and cabinets. The new walls contain acoustic insulation to provide privacy within the otherwise open plan. All finishes, electrical wiring, plumbing, and appliances are new.
Some of the features I especially love about this loft are the abundance of exposed brick, the wood ceilings, the free-standing fireplace, and the teakwood built-in bookcases and shelves. The living space was divided thoughtfully and deliberately. I love the two separate loft areas, which affords privacy for a home office. Note how each bedroom is approached from a different area of the main living space. The result is a contemporary urban home that exudes warmth while being stylish and chic.
A Few Good Things To Know
- The heat, hot water, stove, and clothes dryer run on natural gas, which is included in the monthly association fees along with water/sewer/trash removal, high-speed Internet, and basic cable TV. Electricity is the owners' only utility bill, which averages about $100/month. Also, good to know, there is a whole-house humidifier built into the air-handling system.
- The Audio/Video system was designed for the space and will remain. It includes a high-res Samsung plasma TV and Blu-ray player and a Pioneer 7-channel, two-zone surround sound receiver with matched high-quality Polk speakers.
- The Guest/Reading Loft was designed to accommodate two twin-bed mattresses for informal sleep-overs or as a quiet place to read a book or take a nap in a semi-private space. Because the ceiling isn't quite two full stories high, the loft floor is above the two closets below, and the bench-height platform with the mattresses is the ceiling of the hall below.
- The fireplace is original to the first renovation of the Itasca Building in 1980. You couldn't build one like it today because of building codes, but it was "grandfathered in" and is a marvelous thing. It draws beautifully (no smoke) and can be seen from the kitchen, dining, living, media areas, as well as the master bedroom. When the lights are out, it's like having a campfire indoors.
The current owners designed the position of the wall between the master bedroom and the office loft to align with the roof beam above to make it easy to add a door and partition, if desired, between the bedroom and the main living space. The drain for the walk-in shower was part of the 1980 plan, so they used it to create an open-air shower off the master bedroom, taking advantage of the skylight above. The extensive built-in cabinets, bookshelves, and closets are also from the original design. The ample built-in wardrobes are also from the original design.
- The loft office was designed to keep the workspace "out of sight and out of mind" when relaxing, and it works beautifully. It would also make an excellent space for meditation or yoga or a reading loft with library shelving. The doors of the built-in cabinets are easy to remove and reconfigure.
- As you'll see if you tour the roof, many 6th floor owners have built roof decks, or even second-story rooms, above their units. This process is to develop a plan and have it approved by the homeowner's association, which then issues a permit to occupy the roof area. Any of the neighbors who've done this can advise you.
- There is a boat hoist above the garage parking space. The current owners can lower their 12-foot kayak onto the roof rack on their car and be out the door in a few minutes. The hoist will also be left for the new owners.
What the Current Owners Enjoy Most
The movement of light through the living space, as the sun and moon, pour through the big, south-facing windows and circular skylights. "It's a bit like living at Stonehenge; the patterns are always changing. We find we're more in touch with the weather and the seasons than when we lived in a house."
There it is. A fantastic loft in a vibrant neighborhood with the city of Minneapolis spread out before you. If you are craving the urban lifestyle or desirous of living in the North Loop in an award-winning restoration, here is your opportunity.