From Finance & Commerce, Monday, June 25, 2012

By Anne Bretts

Address: 1724 Lake St. W., Minneapolis

Project cost: $9.8 million

Project size: 98,244 square feet, 57 apartment units

Owner: Lake and Knox LLC

Contractor: Weis Builders Inc.

Architect: BKV Group

Engineers: RLK

1800 Lake (Photo by Essence Photography)

Nick Walton was outside the new offices of Reuter-Walton Construction and CPM Development, happy to talk about the project known simply as 1800 Lake.

“It’s completely opened the corner up to the neighborhood,” Walton said. “It’s an incredible entrance to Uptown.”

CPM and the Eden Prairie-based Shelard Group teamed up on the $9.8 million mixed-use project at 1724 Lake St. in Minneapolis. It opened in late October with half of its 57 luxury apartments leased and now has a waiting list.

Walton said he and Daniel Oberpriller, co-owners of CPM, are pleased that after three years of planning, construction and more than a little controversy, the final piece of the project is falling into place. Eden Prairie-based JJ’s Coffee + Wine Bistro opened its second location in June in the building at the corner of Lake Street West and Knox Avenue South, within sight of Lake Calhoun.

Views of Lake Calhoun (Photo by Saari & Forrai Photography)

Back in 2008, Walton and Oberpriller weren’t planning to build anything. They just wanted a modest office.

“We bought a five-plex from the guy who had the franchise for We Buy Ugly Houses,” Walton said. They paid $500,000 and moved in.

Walton approached a neighbor to buy full control of a shared driveway, and the owner offered to sell the property. Soon they owned five worn-out buildings on a prime corner in Uptown.

“At that point we knew we had a project,” he said. They also had a working name, Lake and Knox, taken from the site’s location.

That was 2009. Architect Michael Krych, a principal in Minneapolis-based BKV Group, remembers the months of controversy over the height of the building and how it would fit in with the neighborhood.

“We worked through the design over and over again,” he said. The final version includes a building that wraps around an open courtyard, with two levels of underground parking and a rooftop deck. Weis Builders executed the design, which incorporates improved groundwater management, energy-efficient building materials, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and adhesives, and plumbing and mechanical systems that save water and energy.

Of course, functionality doesn’t get noticed without great design. And this was a building that needed to be noticed.

“It is a gateway into Uptown,” Krych said, noting that 40,000 vehicles pass by each day between the larger 13-story Edgewater Condominiums across Lake Street and several other smaller buildings in the neighborhood.

“That’s why we ended up with copper on the building, to create a signature design.” Krych said. “The use of stone and copper are pretty timeless materials.”

Copper Fireplace (Photo by Saari & Forrai Photography)

“We ended up with a project that we’re all very happy with,” Krych said.