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A development is generating a buzz, not only for its primo views overlooking the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Basilica of St. Mary and downtown skyline, but its next iteration as four luxe condo units.

The close-to-the-finish-line development started five years ago when owners Mohsen and Julie Sadeghi and their family started to discuss what to do with the Lowry Hill home they had lived in for more than four decades. With their children grown and now empty nesters, it was time for the next stage in their lives.

While they loved the location and wanted to stay, the house didn't lend itself to their changing needs. "We both realized it was just too big for us," Julie said of the two-story Italian Renaissance-style home.

As they weighed their options, the house's size and clunky configuration as well as the lot's topography posed challenges, making a renovation or reutilization of the existing structure unfeasible.

"It was a 10,000-square-foot space which was built in 1909," Mohsen said. "It had been a rooming house at one point."

In addition, a 33-foot slope from the sidewalk to the backyard as well as a detached garage with a 15-degree slope created dangerous situations, especially in the winter.

In the end, the answer was clear: Tear down the past-its-prime residence, update the landscaping and allow others to enjoy the location via a small-scale boutique condo building in which Mohsen and Julie would occupy one of the units.

The couple's son, Ryan Sadeghi, account director at Shea architecture and design firm, would serve as project manager.

"The decision to demolish the house wasn't easy, but after we'd done our due diligence into what was possible from a development perspective, the project made sense," Ryan said. "We wanted to create a new legacy for this property, and that meant starting from scratch."

A new legacy

Ryan brought in a local team that included PKA Architecture, Martha Dayton Design, Nor-Son Construction and Pebl landscaping, as well as acoustic and noise mitigation consultants Veneklasen Associates of California.

"Knowing my parents would be a part of this project long-term, it was important for us to create something timeless and special that highlights the uniqueness of this particular property," Ryan said.

It took some time to carry out the project. Because of the house's age and style, Mohsen and Julie checked with the Heritage Preservation Commission, which unanimously approved their application for demolition, according to a city of Minneapolis staff report on the development proposal. There were also setbacks and modifications that needed to take place.

"We submitted our land-use application at the start of 2020, and there were some delays due to COVID," Ryan said. "Our original application was for a three-story, five-unit building, but the planning commission denied our conditional use permit for the increased height. Once we scaled it back to a four-unit development, we were off to the races."

In designing the building and interiors, the history and surrounding environment were key.

"The philosophy of the design team going into the project began with listening and understanding the story of our clients, the story of the existing house that sat upon the site and the important city surroundings," said Kristine Anderson, PKA managing principal and designer.

Martha Dayton said creating distinctive spaces also became important.

"Given the size of this building, we were able to be a little more design-forward versus what we might've needed to do if we were designing for a broader market," she said. "We weren't trying to design 100 units. … It's about the spaces, the views and the access to all that we have in the city."

"We tried to be very clean, classic and timeless with the design, and we were aiming for something that's relevant but not trendy," Dayton continued. "The design provides the ability to bring the city and the greenery inside through windows and outdoor spaces."

The view ahead

Currently under construction, the project is slated to wrap up in June.

Amenities include front patios with integrated heaters, private rooftop decks, two-car, underground heated garages with enough power for an EV charger and storage areas for each unit. And while an elevator services the whole building, those occupying the east units will have direct access from their condo.

While completion a few months out, filling the units at 35 Groveland Terrace ( is underway. One of the three available condos, a 2,500-square-foot first-floor unit with a chef's kitchen, two bedrooms, a study and three bathrooms, is currently on the market for $2.4 million.

"It's really the best of both worlds between what you get with the ease of condominium living with the intimacy and privacy of a single-family residence," Ryan said.

Mohsen and Julie couldn't agree more.

"We used to be able to see the 'Spoonbridge and Cherry' sculpture from our living room window, and now we'll still be able to do that," Mohsen said. Ryan chimed in: "In fact, because PKA was able to maximize angles toward downtown and the garden, it will be an even better view than it was in the old place."

Julie Kendrick is a freelance writer in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks.