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BEST LOFT OR CONDO PROJECT Minneapolis 2005 - 607 Washington

If there's one hallmark of the downtown housing boom, it's that size matters. Or, at least, it's beginning to. After an initial wave of condos and lofts housed in charming four-story buildings, this year saw the return of high-rise living to Minneapolis. This was especially true downtown, with the opening of Grant Park condos, the groundbreaking for something called Skyscape, and at least three other mega high-rise projects entering the pipeline. That's what makes 607 Washington so charming, in all its five-story glory. The 30 units, which are in the building that also houses Sawatdee Thai restaurant, were a long time coming, after a series of false starts by different contractors. But Bill Knudson, who was one of the original players in the project, took over 607 down the home stretch. The result: meticulously detailed lofts that overlook Washington Avenue and the so-called "Gold Coast" of the Mississippi, some with original "Chicago" brick, 11-foot timber ceilings, and windows nearly as tall. Projects are going up in the area every day (the new Guthrie looms) and 607 sits in the heart of what will be downtown's next flourishing neighborhood. Of course, these lofts are like others downtown in one regard: The five remaining units available start around $300,000, and only go up, up, up (to nearly half a million) from there.

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