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Real estate developer Sherman Associates is planning on demolishing a downtown Minneapolis office space and constructing multiple mid-and-high-rise residential buildings in its place.

The 550,000 square-foot office space that was formerly the Wells Fargo operations center currently sits vacant at the southwest corner of South Washington Avenue and 3rd Avenue South.

Construction on the new project, called "Harmonia," is expected to begin in the fall of 2023 and finish sometime early 2026.

The new $400 million development will feature:

  • 10-story, mixed-income mid-rise apartment building
  • 20+ story market-rate high-rise apartment building
  • 25+ story mixed-use high-rise building

Additionally, the development will provide "multifamily, retail, and restaurant" space and potentially more offices, condos, or hotels in the area.

The concept, designed by ESG Architecture & Design, is expected to include a restaurant plaza in between the buildings and a courtyard, according to renderings.

The area connects the Mill District, Central Business District and North Loop of Minneapolis.

Courtesy of Sherman Associates

Courtesy of Sherman Associates

According to Sherman Associates, the current office space represents about 10% of the vacant offices in the Central Business District.

“The Harmonia project will create a dynamic and interactive hub for people of all incomes to experience the vibrant center of downtown Minneapolis,” said Chris Sherman, president of Sherman Associates. “Between this project and our proposed Northstar East project, we are removing close to 1 million square feet of excess and underutilized office space.”

The development comes amid a wider reimagining of downtown and other central business district spaces in the wake of the COVID pandemic, which has ushered in major changes to work environments, notably a spike in work-from-home roles.

NBC reports high office vacancy rates have troubled cities nationwide since the pandemic. The downtown Minneapolis vacancy rate stands at about 30%, Axios reports.

The name "Harmonia" is inspired by Harmonia Hall, which was the second musical theater to open in the city. According to Twin Cities Music Highlights, the first Harmonia Hall was built in 1859 at Second Avenue North and Second Street.

Sherman Associates is redeveloping another full city block in downtown Minneapolis. The project includes the construction of a new fire station, a six-story income-restricted apartment building and a 22-story market rate tower, near the Portland Avenue and South Third Street area. The fire station was completed this summer.

It's also in the process of converting a 300,000 square-foot office space at the Northstar Center, which is being converted to 216 apartments. 

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