See more of the story

A historic block in the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis will get a boutique hotel rather than offices, as originally planned.

David Wilson, John Gross and Andrew Commers said they have a commitment from an unnamed hotel operator for a nearly quarter-block site at the corner of N. 1st Street and N. 2nd Avenue.

“We were approached by a hotel group that expressed interest in the site,” said Wilson. “We were at a point where we could pivot to a different use without a lot of trouble.”

The development trio wants to demolish two buildings and integrate two more into the project, which will include 125 to 130 hotel rooms, a restaurant and a couple of bar/lounges in a new building that will be integrated into the existing Roe Wolf and Commutator Foundry Co. buildings, both of which were built in the early 1900s.

Originally, the team wanted to develop offices, but after talking with the hotel operator decided to change course. The concept, Wilson said, is to create a destination for travelers and area residents alike.

“We’re really designing it to be the North Loop’s living room,” he said.

Because the site’s location is within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and the Minneapolis Warehouse Historic District, the first step in that process is a presentation Tuesday to the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.

The project is part of a broader transformation of the block, which is anchored by the Aria Event Center.

Colorado-based Solaris Redevelopment Corp. is now developing a low-rise apartment building that includes more than 150 apartments above retail space and a midblock courtyard.

Both projects were designed by Snow Kreilich Architects, a 30-person North Loop-based firm noted for its designs for ballparks, sleek international border crossings and one-of-a-kind houses and lofts.

Twin Cities developer Howard Bergerud began assembling the sites several years ago. Wilson and his team acquired its site a couple of years ago from Solaris, which had planned to do its own development on the site.

Wilson said the proposal will bring much-needed hotel rooms to the area, which is just a few blocks from the Hewing Hotel. There is also a new 160-room Element by Westin hotel that is part of the Fillmore Minneapolis events center development near Target Field.

Developers announced earlier this month that the home-furnishings store West Elm would open its second Twin Cities store on the main floor of the Solaris apartment project that is now under construction on the site. That 11,000 square-foot store is expected to open early next year.

The city is awash in new hotels, including recent openings of a new Canopy by Hilton and Moxy Minneapolis Hotel near U.S. Bank Stadium.

Wilson said the team is developing construction drawings of the project, which he hopes will break ground within the next six to nine months.

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376