Hook and Ladder Apartments

Project Location: 2318 Jefferson St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Nominated by: Newport Midwest

Hook and Ladder Apartments, located in the heart of the NE Minneapolis Arts District, is comprised of 118 affordable apartment homes. By working with community members and design experts, this project incorporated innovative placemaking and sustainable design elements that honor the history of the neighborhood, while providing a modern, accessible space. Hook and Ladder incorporates sustainable, energy-efficient building techniques far beyond conventional affordable housing. The development includes two buildings: one built to comply with current Minneapolis sustainability requirements, the other to Passive House (PH) certification. The buildings are nearly identical in floor plans, unit mix and tenant population. This provides a long-term, side-by-size analysis of the cost and energy saving benefits of PH.

Newport Midwest solicited public input at several Holland Neighborhood Association meetings, beginning as soon as site control was obtained. The neighborhood learned about the development team’s proposal and provided input, which in turn was incorporated into the project design. A vibrant and active organization, the Holland Neighborhood Association supported and helped build awareness for the Hook and Ladder Apartments. Because of Hook and Ladder’s commitment to the arts, the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association and members of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District continue to be strong supporters of the development.

Hook & Ladder’s 2.6 acre, blighted site presented a unique opportunity to add density within a residential neighborhood that encourages high-density, multi-story development. The industrial use of the site resulted in contamination with a mix of petroleum and non-petroleum contaminants, as well as wide-spread fill including coal. This development features the first multi-family homes built to stringent Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) certification standards. In order to take advantage of passive energy to reduce the carbon footprint of the building, non-traditional construction techniques were necessary. Plumbers and electricians unfamiliar with PH technology drill holes through studs and materials to integrate their systems into buildings, something antithetical to usual PH standards and the quest for an airtight structure. To accommodate that practice, the team developed a two-part exterior wall. Additionally, the owner engaged HVAC engineers and installation experts early in the design phase so that the critical heating and cooling elements could achieve PHIUS certification. Having the installer on board allowed contractors to train their staff, and research the products and construction techniques necessary to adapt PH within budget constraints.

The Holland neighborhood recognized and has welcomed the addition of 118 units of affordable housing to their community. Hook and Ladder creates quasi-public pathways and public outdoor gathering space, strengthening pedestrian connections in an area currently divided by a railway. The Hook and Ladder site is adjacent to the railroad which disrupts the standard street grid and creates awkward, irregular parcels. Other placemaking features within the pedestrian path include public art, landscaping, seating and exterior lighting. This quasi-public space will allow neighborhood and apartment residents to gather and engage. An open courtyard in the middle of the site will serve the apartment residents. The vibrant exterior of the building reflects the neighborhood character, comprised of an aesthetic unique to the NE Arts District. The building interior includes a maker space and exhibit space for artists residing at Hook and Ladder.

Project Financing

  • Met Council TBRA
  • Hennepin County ERF

Project Partners

  • Newport Midwest (Owner and Developer)
  • LHB Architects (Owner)
  • Frerichs Construction LLC (General Contractor)
  • Precipitate Consulting (Sustainability Consultant)
  • Wenck (Civil & Environmental Engineering)
  • City of Minneapolis (Funding)
  • Hennepin County (Funding)
  • Metropolitan Council (Funding)
  • Holland Neighborhood Association (Funding)
  • Alliant Capital (Equity Investor)\
  • TFC Bank (Lender)