Conversion of Duffey Lofts in Minneapolis demanded several surprise solutions.
The Duffy in Minneapolis, interior


For many urban dwellers, there’s nothing more appealing than living within a character-rich vintage building in an historic district. This demand alone should have ensured the conversion of C.J. Duffey Paper Co. warehouse in Minneapolis into a multifamily property more than a decade ago. But a full 15 years after the historic building was last occupied by its former owners, it still had not attracted a redeveloper.

It took Chicago-based CEDARst, teaming with architectural firm BKV Group of Chicago and RJM Construction of Golden Valley, Minn., to tackle the building’s innate obstacles and emerge with a triumphant redevelopment.

The team addressed the warehouse’s very large building floor plates by creating a central atrium that could flood the interior with natural light and provide inward-facing residences with outdoor views. The inclusion of a Deltabeam slim floor allowed for the addition of one more floor. By preserving the existing structures, the team was able to avoid the heavy environmental toll of new construction.

The result: The Duffey, a 188-unit multifamily property featuring 93 studio units, 85 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom apartments. Features and finishes of residences include stainless steel appliances, ceramic hexagonal mosaic floor tiles, hardwood floors, rainfall shower heads, and white and gray quartz countertops.

The project broke ground in August 2020 and opened in spring of last year. A second phase is scheduled to finish by the end of this year.


The Details

  • Located in the coveted Warehouse District
  • Project cost $71.1 million and benefited from funding that included Minnesota state historic tax credits
  • Project size 92,109 square feet, including 24,000 square feet of retail and 10,300 square feet of common area amenities
  • Light well measuring 30 feet square carved into interior for natural light
  • Subterranean parking structure providing approximately 100 vehicle spaces, with another 32 spaces outside
  • Features including a sun-washed, double-height resident co-working space and coffee shop; a full-sized fitness center; and atop the building a timber-exposed club room, lawn and lounge area

Lofty Ambitions

The Duffey encompasses three side-by-side buildings filling an entire city block of the Warehouse District: the Minneapolis Iron Store buildings built in 1916 and the Lindsay Brothers Warehouse built in 1910.

Exterior of the Duffey Lofts in Minneapolis


Interior of Duffy Lofts in Minneapolis


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