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COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, MN-Benchmark Cos. will start construction this summer on Grand Central Lofts, the new 210-unit condominium-style loft housing project, after tearing down an old building on the 12-acre site at 4747 Central Ave.

The $62-million project, which also will include 20 townhomes, recently opened a model unit to spur sales. The prices of the units start at $189,000, according to Benchmark Cos., the developer of the project. The project, which will encompass more than 500,000 sf and include about 10,000 sf of retail space, is about a half-mile south of the intersection of Central and Interstate 694.

“Offering new optional styles of housing in our city is imperative to revitalizing our housing,” Mayor Gary Peterson says.

Bruce Nedegaard, the chief executive officer of Benchmark Cos., says one of the best selling points will be the views the come from the location of the project. “Grand Central Lofts sits on one of the highest points in Columbia Heights,” he says.

The general contractor for the Grand Central Lofts is Frana & Sons; ESG Architects is doing the design work; the sales and marketing is handled by Development Marketing Services Inc.; and Community National Bank will provide financing.

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