MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After nearly 100 years of serving as headquarters for a bank and later a railroad, the Soo Line Building in downtown Minneapolis is becoming one of the hottest new properties for rent.

The 20-story tower is a classic example of “monumental classicism” — a style of architecture that the building’s rebirth into luxury apartments is preserving.

The building at the corner of Marquette Avenue and 5th Street South in Minneapolis is hard to mistake. It’s the building with the large black cast iron clock jutting out from the corner. But thanks to a multi-million-dollar renovation by the Michigan based Village Green Company, the old building is now providing urban residents a taste of modern downtown living.

Just step inside any of the 254 rental units in the Soo Line Building City Apartments and you’re struck by the 10-foot high ceilings and tasteful decor.

“We have a lot of floor plans that feature corner style apartments with a lot of windows and natural light,” sales manager Marissa Benthin said.

The renovated building is the perfect draw for downtown residents. Erik Pfeifer moved there in mid-November to be close to work and downtown amenities.

“I love it. I didn’t want just a cookie-cutter apartment. This building has character, which I love,” Pfeifer said.

For years, the building held the offices of the Soo Line Railroad. So it’s only appropriate that it sits at the doorstep to the Hiawatha light rail line, which is a huge selling point for tenants like Pfeifer.

“I think it’s where the action is and young people like myself want to be where the action is. This is the place to be,” he said.

The owner, Village Green, calls them the nicest apartments on the downtown Minneapolis skyway system, adding that it boasts many of the conveniences today’s residents want, from a fitness center and roof-top pool to a 24-hour concierge services. The amenities were added to the gutted building while preserving the building’s historic character.

“Because you’re so close to everything it’s about time, you’re saving that. And it’s about time that somebody built something brand new on the skyway,” Benthin said.

From a spacious three-story open lobby to the 46 different apartment styles throughout, it’s easy to see why the Soo Line Building City Apartments is already more than halfway leased.

The building will also include public amenities like a restaurant, dry cleaners and wine bar. Monthly rents range from just over $1,000 for a studio apartment to more than $4,000 for a two-floor suite.

Bill Hudson