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Timber-framed condos are coming to Minneapolis' North Loop

Developer Todd Simning is tired of the same old thing being built in Minneapolis.

Developer Todd Simning is tired of the same old thing being built in Minneapolis. TMBR LLC

The first thing developer Todd Simning wants you to know about his project in Minneapolis’ North Loop is that it is not “just another condo.”

This is TMBR. (Yes, pronounced “timber.”) It’s a new 10-story, 79-unit, “boutique-style” development poised to hit Third Avenue in the Warehouse District after construction begins in November. It’s expected to have 7,500 square feet of retail on the first floor and three levels of parking below.

None of this will come cheap. One-bed, one-baths will go for around $425,000. The penthouses could reach $4 million and beyond.

TMBR gets its name from being “the first timber-framed condominium in Minnesota.” The wood will come from one of the few companies that manage sustainable forests specifically for timber production -- Simning's not sure yet which, but there are options in British Columbia and Quebec. All the new buildings you see in Minneapolis these days are so similar, Simning says. He wanted to do something different.

“We really want it to stick out like a sore thumb. In a really good way.”

The exterior is all terracotta slats and modular-looking windows. Within, there will be exposed wood beams, “high-performance thermal windows,” and a “partial green roof and gardens.” The interiors will be “modern-looking,” Simning says, with exposed wood and clean-cut, white fixtures and countertops.

Some of the inspiration comes from the Warehouse District’s industrial history. In the 1800s, most of the surrounding buildings were cobbled together with post and beam timber, surrounded by brick.  

It's not an unprecedented. In 2015, developer Hines broke ground on the North Loop’s first all-timber office building, T3. The bold move got it recognition from the Wall Street Journal as the tallest “modern all-timber structure” in the country. As of last year, 180,000 of its 222,000 square feet had been solidly booked by startups, tech companies, and creative firms – an old-meets-new, nature-meets-technology millennial dreamland.

Time will tell if TMBR can capitalize on T3’s distinctive success, or if what the modern city-dweller is looking for these days is a $4 million timber penthouse. At the moment, the city is still in the process of approving Simning’s plans. But he's already taking reservations.

“There’s been some really, really good interest in the project,” he says.