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How Minneapolis developers come up with all those precious names for apartment buildings

Courtesy of Doran Cos.
Bloomington-based Doran Cos. just completed the Moline, a 239-unit apartment project in Hopkins.

Before the many local apartment buildings under construction open their doors, a name goes up. The tradition is as old as the city itself, given the monikers carved into the lintels of century-old buildings. How do developers choose names that will stand the test of time?

Minneapolis-based developer Greco LLC — which has built apartments called Lime, Blue and Flux — has tapped Minneapolis-based branding/advertising agency Fellow Inc. to devise new project names. A new North Loop project will be called Variant, while a Shoreview development has been dubbed Loden SV.

Greco wanted to convey that their project will be different, but how does “Loden SV” accomplish that? Eric Luoma, co-founder of Fellow, says that “SV” stands for Shoreview; “loden” is a dark green. The name is meant to refer to the green space that will be on the site.

Luoma says the average person doesn’t have to know exactly what the name means. “To me, it sounds almost like it’s somebody’s name,” says Luoma. “It will become familiar to people.”

Fellow Inc. also came up with the name for the Hewing Hotel in the North Loop. Luoma notes that the vintage building has lots of timber; “hewing” refers to the process of refining a log into lumber. “The name’s got to do a lot of work,” says Luoma. “You’ve got logos, you’ve got signage . . . URLs are important.”

Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. developed a Golden Valley apartment building called Arcata, next to the Colonnade office building. Mary Lucas, a Trammell Crow associate, notes that “colonnade” is a design term referring to a sequence of columns; “Arcata,” Italian for “arch,” evolved from “arcade,” a related term for a row of arches.

In a crowded field, Lucas says it’s important “to be able to differentiate yourself and be able to create a brand.”

Twin Cities BusinessBloomington-based Doran Cos. just completed the Moline, a 239-unit apartment project in Hopkins. Millennials are likely unaware that the name is drawn from the former headquarters of the Minneapolis-Moline Co. across the street, which made tractors into the 1970s.

“I now own seven Minneapolis-Moline tractors dating from 1936 to 1959 . . . we had to expand the building to accommodate them,” says Kelly Doran, founder and owner of Doran Cos. The “tractor gallery” in the building’s lobby will be open to the public.

Doran says that he taps his own staff to come up with project names and never hires an outside marketing company. “It’s no different in some ways than trying to name children.”

This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by David Markle on 12/04/2017 - 11:45 am.

    Attempted elegance

    And you’ll see supposed embellishments such as the Anglo-French spelling of “center,” even on the United Labor Centre in Minneapolis. At least those burly folks didn’t use the British spelling, “labour.”

  2. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 12/04/2017 - 01:15 pm.

    Never take note of buildings, but I have always cringed when passing new, treeless subdivisions of cookie cutter shacks just past the grand entrance announcing “Pheasant Ridge”, “Burbling Creek” or “Deer Path Estates” .

    I imagine the sign above my personal hell will say “Welcome to Leafy Lane”.

  3. Submitted by Richard Parker on 12/05/2017 - 12:52 am.

    I’m getting old…

    And if I have to move to an assisted-living place while I’m still around, I hope it isn’t named Xxxxx Pointe.

  4. Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 12/06/2017 - 07:45 am.

    The Maverick

    My wife and I burst out laughing when a new building on the fringe of the North Loop went with the name The Maverick. Signs touted individuality and encouraged renters to come bring their unique style to the building. To us, any building promoting individualism by encouraging everyone to move in together is pretty funny. And the Starbucks on the first floor is really unique!

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