The Bookmen Stacks condo building in the heart of Minneapolis' Warehouse District is a modernist all-glass structure that could be mistaken for an industrial office complex.
Developer Steve Frenz says that demand for such unique spaces, which offer panoramic views of their urban environments, has increased.
"Glass condo buildings are a recent phenomenon here, which coincides with more people moving back to the core cities," he said.
The trend is also being driven by technology. Developers are now using glass and steel curtain-wall systems similar to those used on skyscrapers such as the IDS Center, built around a concrete and steel structure. They include high-tech double-paned windows with high-performance insulating and soundproofing qualities.
In Bloomington, the Reflections high-rise condos went the extra mile with triple-glazed windows that eliminate the roar of planes taking off and landing nearby.
While Frenz acknowledges that "not everyone wants to live in a fishbowl," floor-to-ceiling glass was a selling point for Tom Berthiaume, who bought a fifth-floor condo at Bookmen Stacks. He can watch the sunrise without getting out of bed. "At night," he said "the cityscape is huge and beautiful."
Here's a glimpse at three all-glass trend-setters.
REFLECTIONS AT BLOOMINGTON CENTRAL STATION
What: Two 17-story glass towers overlooking the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent to the Hiawatha light rail line. It's also Minnesota's first LEED-certified residential high-rise. (LEED is an energy-efficiency and indoor air-quality certification program.)
Glass factor: Panoramic views of planes landing and taking off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with the skyline of Minneapolis in the distance. Windows, engineered to minimize noise, do not open. Penthouses have two-story living rooms.
Units: 263. Units remaining: 49.
Price range: $150,000 to $850,000.
Square footage: 700 to 2,400; one- and two-bedroom units.
Top dollar: Two-story penthouse.
Address: 8151 33rd Av. S., Bloomington, www.reflections-bcs.com, 952-883-0123.
What: An eight-story tower next to the warehouse-condo conversion Bookmen Lofts, and near the site of the new Twins stadium.
Glass factor: Many units have three sides of floor-to-ceiling windows and skyline views.
Units: 45. Units remaining: 10.
Price range: $249,000 to $599,000 (remaining units).
Square footage: 950 to 2,215; one- to three-bedroom units.
Top dollar: 3,200-square-foot penthouse for $1 million.
Address: 345 6th Av. N., Minneapolis, 612-347-8070, www.bookmenstacks.com.
What: Two blue-tinted glass towers above a Lunds food store in the Old St. Anthony neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Glass factor: Units are arranged horizontally along the perimeter of the building for ultimate views of the riverfront and Minneapolis skyline. Has operable awning-style windows.
Units: 93. Units remaining: Six.
Price range: $550,000 to $1.9 million (remaining units).
Square footage: 2,000 to 4,000.
Top dollar: Custom penthouse terrace runs the length of the unit.
Address: 45 University Av. SE., Minneapolis, 612-623-1199, www.cobaltcondos.com.
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619