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MINNEAPOLIS-Three historic warehouse buildings just east of Minnesota 280, between Hampden Avenue and Carleton Street, would be converted into 170 apartment lofts under a plan recently unveiled by a Twin Cities development team.

Of the 170 first phase units, about 128 will be targeted to residents interested in live/work loft spaces and are attracted to historic or industrial-style buildings. Such residents are frequently pioneers in reviving urban neighborhoods.

“With the success of 808 Berry Place nearby, Dominium has found great demand for quality housing along St. Paul’s University Avenue corridor,” says Paul Sween, a principal of Dominium Development & Acquisition. He believes the Carleton Place project will “bring new vitality to this industrial setting.”

The second phase would include two new infill buildings with an additional 250 market-rate apartments or condominiums, for a total of 420 homes. The community will also include several outdoor courtyards and workshop and gallery spaces. The St. Paul Historic Preservation Commission and the city council have designated the neighborhood a historic district, allowing the development to seek federal historic tax credits partially to offset the costs of rehabilitating the warehouses.

Relatives of the couple who founded and operated Johnson Bros. Liquor Co. on the 6.2-acre site several decades ago are heading the affordable housing initiative under the name University Carleton Development, with Dominium Development and Acquisition, based in Plymouth, as the consultant to the project.The three buildings are at 2285, 2295 and 2341 University Ave. For over 30 years, Johnson Bros. Liquor occupied the site, but it is now used as office and warehouse space. Construction will begin this summer, and the project is expected to be competed in May 2007.

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