To the casual observer, The Edge apartments being built at NW 13 and Walker in Midtown would seem to be months away from seeing its first tenants move into their new homes.
But Gary Brooks is targeting a mid-August opening for The Edge’s clubhouse and apartments facing Walker Avenue.
The $36 million, 250-unit complex is being built on the former home of Mercy hospital and will include a 423-space parking garage and 7,500 square feet of retail.
“It’s more active than we’ve seen since the beginning,” Brooks said. “We have a lot of trades in there, we are sheet-rocking the top two floors, and electrical, mechanical and plumbing is all in on those top couple of floors on the east side. The brick is going up fast.”
During a recent tour of the development, workers could be seen busily placing brick on the courtyard walls. Preparation is underway for construction of a heavily landscaped and decked $800,000 courtyard that will include a large pool and fountains.
The fifth floor of the complex’s garage will feature downtown’s first rooftop dog park. The run area will be an eight-layer filtration system consisting of gravel, sand, a felt-like material and artificial turf on top all layered on top of a series of drains.
“It’s a very sophisticated system,” Brooks said. “If you are going to have 100 dogs up here, you have to have a good filtration system. There will be water up here, it will be self-contained, where you can let your dog run, and there will be a gazebo where you can catch some shade.”
Brooks said the dog park represents a switch from how pet owners have traditionally been treated by apartment landlords.
“Years ago, the apartment business in general would either restrict pets or not allow them, or put up with them while making the costs very high,” Brooks said. “One day I was watching the news, and it talked about the market cap for pet supply stores. I realized this was not only a market we ought to allow, but we ought to cater to. So much of what we’ve done is to create a complex that will cater to tenants with pets.”
Brooks said the response to the apartments to date is encouraging.
“Leasing is going well,” Brooks said. “About 50 percent of the units have been reserved for lease by future tenants.”
Midtown has undergone an extensive expansion since Brooks started the project, with another large mixed residential and retail development, The Lift, set to begin construction later this year nearby at NW 10 and Shartel Avenue. Other large projects include upcoming construction of a new $53 million emergency room and critical care unit at St. Anthony Hospital and the already completed conversion of the former Osler Building to the Ambassador Hotel.
“Midtown was great in 2011 when we started and even better in 2014 with the Ambassador opening and more restaurants,” Brooks said. “The St. Anthony expansion will be spectacular. And the Lift apartments starting construction will add even more activity to the area. More people, more energy is good for all of us.”