Rooms with a view

by Jim Boyle

Jim Soderberg, the president of Soderberg Apartment Specialists in Brooklyn Park, ceremonially cut the ribbon for Granite Shores along Main Street Monday morning in downtown Elk River.

Inside he announced plans to fill the first floor with retail businesses and residents — and fast.

After the ribbon cutting Monday, May 14, there were opportunities to tour Granite Shores and the apartment units prepared to be rented. This one happens to be the top floor of the building in the turret, which got a lot of comments about the view. Other rooms overlook the Mississippi River.

“I think this building didn’t have action for a long time,” he stated. “Our company likes to go really, really fast. We hope to finish fourth floor by the end of this week and we hope to be rented up by the end of next month.”

He’s not kidding.

The ceremony was held on the two-week anniversary of the closing. Within 24 hours of the closing, Soderberg Apartment Specialists had seven crews on the scene beginning the renovation process. Within four days, a beautiful model was completed to include maple flooring, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

“It’s beautifully staged,” Soderberg said. “I think you’ll be impressed.”

Ever since Soderberg came to town, there has been a sense of excitement surrounding the building, which had been called The Bluffs before being foreclosed and sold. Soderberg has been making an effort to get to know all his new neighbors.

Jim Soderberg cut the ribbon for Granite Shores, formerly The Bluffs. Condos are being upgraded and finished as apartment units for rent in downtown Elk River. Elk River Mayor John Dietz and others looked on.

Debbi Rydberg said the creation of Granite Shores will do a lot for the economic development of the community, filling in commercial space here on the first level and adding residents to downtown Elk River.

“When you came to visit, you said your goal was to make this crown jewel really work for Elk River,” Rydberg said. “We really appreciate you dusting off our crown jewel and reminding us of all this greatness.”

Apartments will rent from $900 to $1,600, something Soderberg described as “reasonable,” especially the top floor turret apartment.

“It’s the single most spectacular apartment within 20 miles in any direction,” Soderberg said. “If you get that apartment you are the king or queen of Elk River for $1,600 a month.”

Soderberg’s firm has 25 years in the business of renovating buildings. It has done work all over the metro, including in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Uptown.

With this project, it has been fast-tracked in every way. A month before the closing, Soderberg had all the bids together. It even had a work schedule and timeline before it even closed.

“It’s just a matter of executing now,” Soderberg said.

Cal Portner, Elk River’s city administrator, said Granite Shores will compliment everything going on downtown.

“We’re excited to see what happens,” he said.

To spur added interest on the day of the ribbon cutting, obligation fees were being waived and a free iPad was being given away to anyone who signed on to rent a unit.

The retail portion of the project is also creating excitement.

“We have had all sorts of excitement on the retail,” Soderberg said.

One area on which a lot of interest has been expressed is a coffee shop. There are other possibilities.

Lisa Christianson, president of Christianson and Co., is working on filling the commercial space. She can be reached at 952-393-1212.