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Old 06-19-2010, 06:18 AM
 
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So after a very long and exhaustive search with some rather picky requirements, I have widdled my condo search mainly to two places.

I have a few spaces in the Bookmen Lofts in the North Loop, and a space or two in the CW Lofts in the Northeast area.

Now I am not completely foreign to these areas per se, but simply not having actually lived there, I lack some crucial info that I am really having trouble imagining on my own.

The real Dillema is that the space in the CW Lofts I like a bit more and is pretty amazing, but my concern lies in the surrounding area. Yes you are near the Quarry for Groceries and and such, but otherwise there seems little going on within walking distance, whereas the Bookmen is a little more pedestrian (however how much more I am still not sure, especially during the winter months).

Basically I am looking for some real and experienced viewpoints on comparing these two places, because I am simply exhausted going back and forth on it and can't really fill in the gaps I need to really make a decision, as I do keep flip flopping.

Anyone lived in either? Anyone know anyone who has lived in either? Any comments or opinions from them on what it was like?
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Old 06-19-2010, 09:37 AM
 
134 posts, read 323,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirk13 View Post
So after a very long and exhaustive search with some rather picky requirements, I have widdled my condo search mainly to two places.

I have a few spaces in the Bookmen Lofts in the North Loop, and a space or two in the CW Lofts in the Northeast area.

Now I am not completely foreign to these areas per se, but simply not having actually lived there, I lack some crucial info that I am really having trouble imagining on my own.

The real Dillema is that the space in the CW Lofts I like a bit more and is pretty amazing, but my concern lies in the surrounding area. Yes you are near the Quarry for Groceries and and such, but otherwise there seems little going on within walking distance, whereas the Bookmen is a little more pedestrian (however how much more I am still not sure, especially during the winter months).

Basically I am looking for some real and experienced viewpoints on comparing these two places, because I am simply exhausted going back and forth on it and can't really fill in the gaps I need to really make a decision, as I do keep flip flopping.

Anyone lived in either? Anyone know anyone who has lived in either? Any comments or opinions from them on what it was like?
I have a friend in the CW lofts and a co-worker in the Bookmen.

The thing about warehouse lofts is that they are actually in warehouse districts! Sounds basic, but what that means is that the rest of the neighborhood may have not followed suit with the development of the warehouse(s). I would say that this is the case with the CW development. It's actually considered a very walkable neighborhood (Make sure you checkout Walkscore.com for both properties to get a good idea of actual walking distances) , but the walk to get to many of the amenities is under the freeway and surroundings are not as pleasant as they could be. That said, my friend loves her loft. They have great, raw spaces, wonderfully large windows and great views. For her, it is perfect. There used to be more artist studios and showrooms on the first floor, but the last time I was there, it seemed quite vacant. This artist component really added some vibrancy and life to this building.

I have not been inside the Bookmen, but am very familiar with the area. The North Loop has really changed over the last decade and has added a number of businesses that makes it a much better place to live now. There are some fantastic restaurants, great coffeeshops and other interesting shops that are making it a really nice neighborhood. The addition of the ballpark will certainly guarantee it remains an energized neighborhood.

It sounds like you have picked up on this distinction between the two locations and are a bit concerned about the CW location. If you are a social person, who enjoys being around people and action, then I think your concerns about the CW location are justified. I don't think this immediate area will undergo major changes anytime soon, so don't count on it changing.

From my personal point of view, location is absolute key. I want to enjoy the whole neighborhood, not just my own space. I haven't lived in a warehouse, but if I didn't have access to more than a balcony, then the neighborhood factor would weigh in even more. A great neighborhood will also help you maintain your property values. The North Loop is just hitting it's stride and will continue to get better IMO.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Libby01 View Post
I have a friend in the CW lofts and a co-worker in the Bookmen.

The thing about warehouse lofts is that they are actually in warehouse districts! Sounds basic, but what that means is that the rest of the neighborhood may have not followed suit with the development of the warehouse(s). I would say that this is the case with the CW development. It's actually considered a very walkable neighborhood (Make sure you checkout Walkscore.com for both properties to get a good idea of actual walking distances) , but the walk to get to many of the amenities is under the freeway and surroundings are not as pleasant as they could be. That said, my friend loves her loft. They have great, raw spaces, wonderfully large windows and great views. For her, it is perfect. There used to be more artist studios and showrooms on the first floor, but the last time I was there, it seemed quite vacant. This artist component really added some vibrancy and life to this building.

I have not been inside the Bookmen, but am very familiar with the area. The North Loop has really changed over the last decade and has added a number of businesses that makes it a much better place to live now. There are some fantastic restaurants, great coffeeshops and other interesting shops that are making it a really nice neighborhood. The addition of the ballpark will certainly guarantee it remains an energized neighborhood.

It sounds like you have picked up on this distinction between the two locations and are a bit concerned about the CW location. If you are a social person, who enjoys being around people and action, then I think your concerns about the CW location are justified. I don't think this immediate area will undergo major changes anytime soon, so don't count on it changing.

From my personal point of view, location is absolute key. I want to enjoy the whole neighborhood, not just my own space. I haven't lived in a warehouse, but if I didn't have access to more than a balcony, then the neighborhood factor would weigh in even more. A great neighborhood will also help you maintain your property values. The North Loop is just hitting it's stride and will continue to get better IMO.
Wow, that's some great first hand connections to have! I wish they were members on here as well so they could post .

As you noticed I have indeed picked up on the distinction between the two areas, but I still am not sure if that's enough, and as you said the CW area is still pretty walkable based on what you've heard (although I don't put a lot of stock into the walkability scores).

Basically my issue is that the CW Loft unit I was looking at I was really excited about, but many other things do worry me about it, such as the general area around the building as well as the condition of the rest of the building sell-through wise.

The Bookmen obviously doesn't have this issue but doesn't quite make the cut unit wise to the level of what I was getting from the CW (bathrooms were nicer, a more dramatic feel, ect.).

Interesting what you said about not having access to more than a balcony though, as the one feature about the CW I really liked were these luxurious wrap around balconies that really exuded a special style that I liked. So there is that.

Anyway, what I'm trying to really do is indeed find out if there's anything really really cool or really really bad about either building area that I likely wouldn't come to realize until I actually lived in either of them.

I am definitely trying reasons to like the CW unit better, or something aside from the obvious on the surface solid location to find the Bookmen even more resistible (having some cool restaurant within walking distance is nice and all, but one would eventually grow sick of them anyway I would imagine).

Also, I have been curious how truck noise affects the Bookmen, since it is pretty much right next door to a trucking depo, and I got the impression just by visiting some of the units had I not talked for a little bit that I could have definitely heard a bit of noise from any trucks driving below.
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Old 06-20-2010, 03:12 PM
 
134 posts, read 323,200 times
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So I'm not sure if I can help you with the specifics you are looking for, but I'll give you my opinion. Both of my acquaintences (one in CW, the other in Bookmen) love where they live. I think it's just a matter of personal preference and being happy with the choice they made. Either one can have it's own distinct advantages. Also, I'm assuming you looked at other lofts in the North Loop area? There are quite a few to chose from.

Bookmen/ North Loop area-
+ If you work downtown, being able to walk to work is a huge advantage.
+ Access to great hangout places- coffeeshops, the Loop bar (good happyhour), several sandwich places.
+ Close proximity to great restaurants- Black Sheep pizza (wonderful, coal-fired pizza), Sapor restaurant (excellent, unique food), and proximity to all the restaurants in downtown will be great. I don't think you will tire anytime soon of all the options close to you in this location.
+ Easy access to bike trails and river.
+ Easy in and out, easy access to freeways
- I think the closest grocery store is the Lunds across the river? It's not far, but probably a car-ride away.
- Truck noise shouldn't be too bad (it's mostly mornings)- but it's all relative. What is tolerable to some, isn't to others.

CW Loft location:
+You will get a better unit for the price. For my friend living here, this was the key thing. She didn't want to put out the extra $ needed for the North Loop units.
+Proximity to Home Depot, Target, Rainbow (or Cub, I can't remember which) is nice- but it's a pretty suburban-feeling development. Still, it's stuff everyone needs, so it might as well be within walking distance!
+Easy access to freeway.
I'm not as familar with access to parks, bikepaths in this area or if there are any great restaurants, bars or coffeeshops?
I would also compare resell value on both buildings to make sure that there isn't a big difference in either building.
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Old 06-21-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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I have looked at other lofts, I'll admit I wasn't terribly fond of the newer constructioned cookie cutter ones, they just lacked character. The 801 Washington was nice but I didn't like the layout (and one unit had promise but it still had some street noise issues, something I am still not 100% on when it comes to the bookmen though as far as those trucks go).

I dunno though, I definitely think I would eventually tire of 2-3 restaraunts nearby, even if they were great (not to say it isn't a plus, just not one I see lasting forever).

It's hard to know the resel for the CW because I don't feel like there's been a lot of that yet, especially with the economy affecting rates, making it hard to really tell.

I did take my parents to Lagrassa and it made them really excited about the area (it was a pretty good restaurant), but I am still trying to consider those uknowns that are hard to measure until I live there, everything else as you wrote is displayed out in front of me such as the area stuff and the free way access. I just wish I did have a few more first hand accounts.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Chicago
409 posts, read 1,175,258 times
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Three years ago I used to clean the common spaces at both the Bookmen Stacks and Lofts, and I've plowed the parking entrance/side lot/sidewalks the last two years (won't be this coming winter, though.)

The area immediately surrounding the Bookmen has really changed a lot over the past decade. I remember back in...some time between 1999 and 2002, the first time I ever went to the building, back when it was still a warehouse and there were train tracks and woods between the Lofts and the parking lot where the Stacks now stands, the area was completely dead. The only commercial business in the area was Corner Coffee (formerly Montana Coffee House), and they were just about to close when work started at the Bookmen. The area really has changed a lot, and is continuing to change. Between Target Field and the new multimodal station, the area will only continue to attract more and more businesses and more and more residents for a long time.
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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The Bookmen Stacks and Lofts area is growing as a residential area, and it's set to positively boom once the economy picks back up. The area is on the verge of a critical mass, and Target Field is possibly a factor that will put it over the top. The Bookmen Lofts/Stacks area is growing as a natural extension of the development that's been occurring between Hennepin and Plymouth near the river for the past 10-12 years. It's all considered part of the North Loop neighborhood, which was filling in fairly rapidly during the boom, and it's well poised to continue. The area southwest of Washington is still a little rough looking, and it does have that elevated freeway running through it, but there's a lot of money moving into that neighborhood, and money talks, so it's only going to get nicer. (Unless the whole country truly ends up f__ked. If it all falls apart, then God help us all.)

The CW Lofts I don't know by name. Is that the one at Stinson and Broadway? If so, all it is, is what it is, if you get what I'm saying. Not much happening there, and there probably won't be for a long time to come. Not much to walk to (unless you need to send a package, LOL) and transit isn't notable. It's a still very much a working warehouse/industrial area, plain and true. Why that would change I wouldn't know, since areas like that need to exist for the economy to work. Furthermore, the "neighborhood" name is Mid-City Industrial. I'm not sure whose idea it was to convert that building to apartments/condos, but it has never struck me as being extremely brilliant.

Last edited by Thegonagle; 06-25-2010 at 07:47 AM..
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:14 AM
 
18 posts, read 112,809 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaPerpKazoo View Post
Three years ago I used to clean the common spaces at both the Bookmen Stacks and Lofts, and I've plowed the parking entrance/side lot/sidewalks the last two years (won't be this coming winter, though.)

The area immediately surrounding the Bookmen has really changed a lot over the past decade. I remember back in...some time between 1999 and 2002, the first time I ever went to the building, back when it was still a warehouse and there were train tracks and woods between the Lofts and the parking lot where the Stacks now stands, the area was completely dead. The only commercial business in the area was Corner Coffee (formerly Montana Coffee House), and they were just about to close when work started at the Bookmen. The area really has changed a lot, and is continuing to change. Between Target Field and the new multimodal station, the area will only continue to attract more and more businesses and more and more residents for a long time.
That is actually kind of fascinating. So you were a janitor there? Or you own a company that does that stuff?

It is intruiging to learn how the area has changed (although something tells me I don't want to know how it used to be, as that would just depress me :P ). Since I didn't know the area very well before a few years ago (just never went there) I have little basis, and only feel the way the area is now (stable but stagnant feeling) is how it is. Target field is kind of a big deal but I just don't see "growth" happening.

However, your perspective is interesting, from what I gather your feelings are overall positive of the area....even if you were the one picking up after people in said buildings .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thegonagle View Post
The Bookmen Stacks and Lofts area is growing as a residential area, and it's set to positively boom once the economy picks back up. The area is on the verge of a critical mass, and Target Field is possibly a factor that will put it over the top. The Bookmen Lofts/Stacks area is growing as a natural extension of the development that's been occurring between Hennepin and Plymouth near the river for the past 10-12 years. It's all considered part of the North Loop neighborhood, which was filling in fairly rapidly during the boom, and it's well poised to continue. The area southwest of Washington is still a little rough looking, and it does have that elevated freeway running through it, but there's a lot of money moving into that neighborhood, and money talks, so it's only going to get nicer. (Unless the whole country truly ends up f__ked. If it all falls apart, then God help us all.)

The CW Lofts I don't know by name. Is that the one at Stinson and Broadway? If so, all it is, is what it is, if you get what I'm saying. Not much happening there, and there probably won't be for a long time to come. Not much to walk to (unless you need to send a package, LOL) and transit isn't notable. It's a still very much a working warehouse/industrial area, plain and true. Why that would change I wouldn't know, since areas like that need to exist for the economy to work. Furthermore, the "neighborhood" name is Mid-City Industrial. I'm not sure whose idea it was to convert that building to apartments/condos, but it has never struck me as being extremely brilliant.
As I said I have not been tracking the developements of the area since the "boom" began to turn it from a nothing dead area to what it is now (definitely not "bustling" in my opinion, but definitely a bit active and cleaned up looking comparatively feeling).

I would be well impressed if it continued to grow, I'm not sure how or where though (since there's still many rough edged of what they have residential and business wise in my mind).

Yes, you are correct about the CW Lofts, it is the building on and Broadway and Stinson. I even asked my realtor why someone would choose to convert a building in that area (a building I unfortunately really like the unit for very much) and he said the same thing, "money talks." People had the money to develop it and they wanted to do it so they did it.

I keep thinking there's something I'm missing about the area, that the people currently living there or moving in there know the hidden secrets about stuff nearby that I don't (and won't unless I live there too), I really want to like it, since the Bookmen is a mess right now for me.

Yeah, I went there again today, and I just feel like every unit in that darn building has something I like about it and something I don't like about it. And the one unit that has everything I like about it is way overpriced :P . Sadly such is the dilemma of my decision, not only between the two buildings, but I honestly cannot really find what my ideal unit would be if I even picked the Bookmen sadly.

I would hope though that if I did pick the Bookmen, even though it has been around for a while and the area has already had its boom, that it will appreciate a bit so when I do want to sell I can have a little momentum if/when I want to get something nicer that is available in the future (I mean, it's not like the values anywhere can really get any worse, and if Target field really is the tipping point, than the value it generates probably hasn't taken effect yet, even though I figure prices would have gone up as soon as the stadium broke ground and people knew it would eventually be there).
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Old 06-29-2010, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Chicago
409 posts, read 1,175,258 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirk13 View Post
That is actually kind of fascinating. So you were a janitor there? Or you own a company that does that stuff?

It is intruiging to learn how the area has changed (although something tells me I don't want to know how it used to be, as that would just depress me :P ). Since I didn't know the area very well before a few years ago (just never went there) I have little basis, and only feel the way the area is now (stable but stagnant feeling) is how it is. Target field is kind of a big deal but I just don't see "growth" happening.

However, your perspective is interesting, from what I gather your feelings are overall positive of the area....even if you were the one picking up after people in said buildings .



As I said I have not been tracking the developements of the area since the "boom" began to turn it from a nothing dead area to what it is now (definitely not "bustling" in my opinion, but definitely a bit active and cleaned up looking comparatively feeling).

I would be well impressed if it continued to grow, I'm not sure how or where though (since there's still many rough edged of what they have residential and business wise in my mind).

I would hope though that if I did pick the Bookmen, even though it has been around for a while and the area has already had its boom, that it will appreciate a bit so when I do want to sell I can have a little momentum if/when I want to get something nicer that is available in the future (I mean, it's not like the values anywhere can really get any worse, and if Target field really is the tipping point, than the value it generates probably hasn't taken effect yet, even though I figure prices would have gone up as soon as the stadium broke ground and people knew it would eventually be there).
I've known Steve Frenz (the developer) the most of my life, and I've worked 3 out of the past 4 summers (and occasionally in the winter) for JAS Apartments (now The Apartment Shop), the property management company he runs. We still do the maintenance at the Stacks (though that's not in my area anymore), but no longer have the contract for the Lofts.

As far as Target Field's effects go, I know there was a big sales spike at the Stacks beginning this winter that took care of all the remaining units. I would imagine that any resale price would already have taken TF into effect.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:12 AM
 
18 posts, read 112,809 times
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Originally Posted by DaPerpKazoo View Post
I've known Steve Frenz (the developer) the most of my life, and I've worked 3 out of the past 4 summers (and occasionally in the winter) for JAS Apartments (now The Apartment Shop), the property management company he runs. We still do the maintenance at the Stacks (though that's not in my area anymore), but no longer have the contract for the Lofts.

As far as Target Field's effects go, I know there was a big sales spike at the Stacks beginning this winter that took care of all the remaining units. I would imagine that any resale price would already have taken TF into effect.
One bookmen building is under one contract and one is under the other? Hm, that's weird, not sure why that would be.

I would think building's reslae value would already be affected by Target field, but now people are implying that isn't the case, and that prices are still bottomed out right now anyway, implying the enhancement will likely take place once prices bounce back.

I would imagine the popularity and selling surge of the units due to target field is a different story...granted I remember looking over there before the winter and it was still mostly sold anyway.
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