Rafter is a 283-unit high-rise apartment building that adds height and density to a previously underutilized site in Northeast Minneapolis—which was formerly a fatigued, single-story branch bank structure. It strengthens the retail corridor with new commercial space, while a public plaza along Hennepin Avenue improves the pedestrian experience through active ground floor use. A three-story-tall mural is showcased by local artist Chuck U, emphasizing the project’s ties to the local arts community and demonstrating the project’s dedication to the art community.
Historically, Northeast Minneapolis was a working-class neighborhood, defined by its numerous factories and warehouses. Today, an industrial aesthetic remains, and residents embrace the area’s ‘grit.’ The design team made sure Rafter reflected the neighborhood’s distinct historical and cultural context. The building’s brick base honors the scale and material of the surrounding streetscape, while the tower’s blend of white concrete recalls the nearby General Mills elevators, a Northeast Minneapolis icon. Textured charcoal concrete on the façade is reminiscent of modern ceramic arts, while hints of warm wood, exposed concrete, and metal occur throughout the building.
The area is also known for a group of wild turkeys that call the area home – Rafter – and was proudly incorporated as the name of this property. In addition, each of the 60-unit floor plans are named after the skilled craftworkers that had a hand in building the project and further establishes a connection to Northeast’s industrial past.
From site identification and entitlements to securing more than $500,000 in grants through DEED and navigating the site complexities due to the proximity to a superfund site, Mortenson’s real estate development capabilities positively impacted the success of this project. As the design-builder and joint venture partner, Mortenson also collaborated to secure debt and equity partners.
Facts And Figures
436,000 Square Feet/283-Units
Completion: July 2019