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How many $1 million condos does Minneapolis need?

Eleven on the River will "set a new bar for condo prices in the Twin Cities" when it opens in 2021.

Eleven on the River will "set a new bar for condo prices in the Twin Cities" when it opens in 2021. Eleven on the River

The millionaires of Minneapolis are on the move, but there simply aren't enough of them around for Bob Lux's plans.

Lux is the aptly surnamed developer behind Alatus LLC and its portfolio of projects and holdings, including residential real estate, commercial projects, and downtown parking lots. 

His development company's next project in the works was perhaps its most ambitious: Alia, a 40-story condo complex a couple blocks away from the St. Anthony Main neighborhood.

As described on its website, Alia's location promised an "unbeatable urban lifestyle," and its design and amenities marked a "modern luxury high-rise condominium-living experience in Minneapolis with a quality level that is unmatched, superior by comparison to any premier high-rise residences available in Minneapolis."

Well, that was the idea. Lux and his firm have since scrapped its plans for Alia, and Lux tells Twin Cities Business his firm was foiled by concerned neighbors, who filed a lawsuit in 2016 challenging the proposed building's height. After Alatus prevailed in court, the neighborhood group appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.

With a planned opening date of 2021, construction was to begin this year on Alia's 214 units, 50 of them valued at $1 million or more, and a maximum price tag of $3.5 million. An annoying thing happened along the way: Other developers got a head start on the (very) high-end condo market.

In September, the Legacy, with 375 units opening jut down the block from Gold Medal Park and the Guthrie Theater, reported 90 percent of its condos were already sold. That still leaves a few dozen available, eight of them valued at upward of $1 million. Legacy's least expensive option available—a second-floor space of two bedrooms and 1,475 square feet—is listed for $495,000. 

Also on the glittery horizon: Eleven on the River, a 550-foot-tall development that officially broke ground in October. Located just blocks from the Legacy, the Eleven will open some time in 2021 with 118 units and is expected to "set a new bar for condo prices in the Twin Cities," according to the Star Tribune, meaning the majority will go for north of $1 million.

Another 31 condos will open as part of RBC's new 35-story headquarters/hotel/residential tower next to the Minneapolis Central Library, and Lux tells the TC Business each of them will sell for more than $1 million.

That's a few too many luxury condos for Bob Lux, who says Alatus is weighing whether to still build on the site it owns or sell it off.

A real estate researcher tells the magazine this wave of wealthy buyers is blowing in off the water: “Homes on Lake of the Isles, around Lake Harriet, around Lake Minnetonka—those homes are selling for a significant amount of money." 

From the sound of it, some of the Twin Cities' most fortunate people are forgoing their view of a lake for a view of the Mississippi River. Please be understanding during their time of transition. It's a long elevator ride to get up to the nicer condos.