St. Louis Park's Excelsior & Grand development stands out as a trailblazing model of suburban downtown revitalization, much like The Nic on Fifth is the godfather of downtown luxury apartment buildings.
It was built more than a decade ago after years of studies, rezoning, and painstaking planning that has to irritate the hell out of everyone involved in these ambitious municipal redevelopment projects. By all accounts it was a success, turning a rundown row of sad commercial buildings into a mostly full mixed-use development other first-ring suburbs are actively trying to copy.
Excelsior Boulevard's roaring four-lane traffic makes crossing the street either harrowing or annoying, depending on how impatient you're feeling. Often women clutching yoga mats are seen marooned on the median in between the apartment complex and CorePower Yoga across the street, nervously scanning for an opening.
And the retail nearby is nice, but decidedly suburban -- Starbucks, Trader Joe's, and McCoy's, an overpriced, faux-Irish gastropub.
The traffic in the Trader Joe's parking lot is the Black Friday nightmare that marks every Trader Joe's parking lot, and we wouldn't recommend biking on Excelsior unless you have a death wish.
That said, it's a short (traffic-plagued) drive to Lake Calhoun and Uptown, right on a bus line, and there's a big, pleasant park out back. Not a bad spot if you're into a more vanilla suburban lifestyle.
- Location: 3820 Grand Way (St. Louis Park)
- Opened: 2003
- Developer: TOLD
- Height: Four stories
- Number of Apartments: 338 (another 306 condos)
- Target Demos: Rich millennials who just aren't that into Uptown, downsizing empty-nesters who find Minneapolis too noisy/scary
- Best Amenity: Weekday afternoon rush hour concierge service (5-7:30 p.m.)
- Street-Level Restaurant: McCoy's
- Price Range: $1,200 (554-square-foot studio) to $3,885 (2,200-square-foot penthouse suite)
- Likelihood of Tiny Dogs: Two Chihuahuas out of five
- What did it used to be? Rundown strip malls
- Model on Website: So thirsty
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