In recent years, a new kind of home has taken root in the fertile soil, aka concrete, of Uptown Minneapolis and the West End of St. Louis Park. They’re called luxury apartments, and they embody every syllable of the adjective “luxury.” Their existence hints to a change in what Twin Cities’ residents want out of a place to live: convenience, comfort and the knowledge everything is taken care of. It’s a clear departure from the idea stressed in years past that it’s important to invest in the purchase of a home.
Location, location, location
For luxury apartments, location is key.
The glittering sign of the Uptown Theater towers above the landscape like a giant name tag—Uptown, it announces—you have arrived. The strip of Hennepin Avenue is freckled with restaurants, boutiques and a coffee shop on every corner. And then there are the lakes—weaving into each other and enticing bikers, walkers and the occasional great blue heron to find refuge on their shores.
Snuggled alongside the Greenway, just walking distance from Uptown Minneapolis, sit the luxury apartments of Elan Uptown. “We opened up our first building in 2013,” says community manager Matt Johnson. “Then we had two more buildings to follow—two and three came in 2014 and 2015.”
In addition to the location, a big draw for residents are the amenities: pools, a fitness center, community rooms and fire pits, among others. Two buildings sport a game room with a poker table, foosball, televisions and more. “That one’s probably my favorite,” says Johnson.
In all of the 100 different floor plans at Elan, residents are greeted by espresso or cherry colored cabinetry, bamboo flooring, 75-gallon soaker tubs and a patio or balcony. North-facing units capture views of downtown Minneapolis—the sparkle of the skyline at night and the grays, blues and beiges of the concrete jungle by day. South-facing units look out to the greenway with a more secluded vibe.
Many of the residents are millennials and all of them are on the upper end of the income scale, with rents ranging from $1,300 per month for a studio, all the way up to $3,500 for a town home. “Our residents here are renters by choice,” says Johnson. “They certainly have the means to afford a house or a mortgage. They enjoy the amenities, dry cleaning packages, concierge services.”
Condo-style living with the flexibility of renting
True to its name, The Lakes, another Uptown residence, overlooks Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) and is just a few steps from the water. It opened in September of 2016 to “meet the needs of today’s renters seeking condo-style living with the flexibility of renting,” says community manager Shelby Webb.
These condo-style perks include a fitness center with complimentary yoga classes, a spa-inspired pool (and a pet spa for the furrier residents) and a resident clubroom overlooking the rooftop terrace—a popular space for entertaining. The Lakes also offers complimentary kayak, paddle board and bike rental.
Units vary, with options from 865 square feet to 3,450 square feet and prices ranging from $2,430–$14,603. In each unit, details are important and include black walnut flooring, floor to ceiling windows and deep soaking tubs.
Perhaps the most sought-after amenity is the carefree lifestyle. “[Residents can] leave for extended periods of time, take extended vacations and not have to worry about anything,” says Webb.
The allure of walkability
On the other side of the lakes, once you cross over into St. Louis Park you’ll find the West End. The Flats at West End has been open for four years. Surrounded by the suburban paradise of West End, everything is within arms (or legs) reach. “The allure of West End is the walkability,” says business manager of The Flats Larry Calhoun. “Anywhere [residents] need to go in five minutes or less,” he says, whether it’s catching a Saturday night movie at the ShowPlace Icon movie theater, sipping cocktails at Crave Restaurant or simply walking across the street to Cub Foods for a few groceries.
Amenities include a yoga studio, pool and climate-controlled parking garage. “Out of all the amenities I think it’s a close tie between our pub room and our terrace,” says Calhoun of his favorites. The pub room includes wine fridges, a bar top and an oven. “It’s a great place for gathering and events,” he says. The terrace provides 360 degree views of West End and is a great place to watch firework displays throughout the year.
For floor plans at The Flats, you’ll find a little bit of everything, from open spaces to more traditional floor plans with individual rooms. The variety of options corresponds with The Flats’ wide variety of residents. “We have a little bit of every type of resident,” says Calhoun, including first-time renters and empty nesters looking to downsize. Prices range from about $1,400–$2,600.
Renters across the spectrum have something vital in common: They enjoy the “hands off qualities” that come with renting a luxury apartment, Calhoun notes. “Cleaners are on site every single day,” he says. “[Residents are] taken care of in every aspect. You’re proud to say you live here because of the quality.”
The lure of community
Luxury apartments are no doubt beautiful and convenient, but they offer up something else that seems to be enticing residents—community. All three residences schedule group activities including beer and pizza nights at The Flats, casino nights and brewery tours at Elan, and weekly brunches hosted by The Lakes.
So why is the Twin Cities turning toward luxury? “The only thing you have to do is live here and pay your rent,” says Calhoun. Pools, yoga studios and breathtaking views might, remarkably, take second place.
For those looking to live the luxury apartment lifestyle, all three residences take on new renters throughout the year,
but spaces fill up quickly.