Lander Group
Lander Group Urban Development





July 12, 2004

New West River Commons apartment homes to be smoke-free/pet-free
Reaction from apartment seekers is positive

Minneapolis—West River Commons, the new mixed-used development at the intersection East Lake Street and West River Parkway, has designated its 53 new apartment homes to be smoke-free/pet-free living spaces. While the pet-free aspect of this designation is relatively common, the smoke-free designation is an unusual move for a Twin Cities apartment complex, but one that is growing in popularity on the coasts and that seems to be getting positive reactions from Twin Cities-area renters.

According to @Home Apartments co-owner Alan Spaulding, the decision to go smoke-free/pet-free was based on the potential cost-saving benefits to the property owner and manager, as well as a desire to provide apartment dwellers with a healthier alternative. “When no one has smoked or had a pet in an apartment, it will be cleaner living environment than if they did smoke or house pets. After pet owners and smokers move out, there is a greater need for painting, replacing carpet, and generally cleaning the physical space they occupied. Even with diligent care, it is extremely difficult to remove 100% of the residual odors. In addition, smoke doesn’t stay confined in the apartment where it is introduced; second hand smoke can creep throughout the building into other apartment homes and the communal living spaces. A smoke-free environment is a healthy living environment; one which renters deserve to have as an option.”

Andrea Garofalo, one of the renters who will be moving into West River Commons, indicated that one of the things she does not like about her current apartment is the smoke that creeps in from a neighboring unit. “When I found out that West River Commons was smoke free, it was a definitely an item on my pro list for the building. I really view it as an added amenity,” she said.

Spaulding pointed out there is also a risk prevention and safety factor in the designation. "A smoke-free building is not only healthier, it is safer. Smoking accounts for a significant number of apartment fires each year, we hope renters view reducing this risk as a factor when deciding where to live, and I believe insurance companies will one day offer lower rates for smoke-free buildings."

According to Sandra Sandell, director of the Initiative for Smoke-Free Apartments at the Association for Nonsmokers—Minnesota, said the demand for smoke-free apartments is huge in Minnesota. “Over half of renters would choose a smoke-free building, all other things being equal. Over a third of renters would pay more to live in a smoke-free building. Yet, we think that only a very small percentage of buildings are smoke-free. Going smoke-free provides a healthy environment for tenants and it’s perfectly legal,” she said. “Just as eliminating smoking in the workplace made a lot of business sense, so does eliminating smoking in apartments.”Sandell pointed out that smoke-free environments are especially good for older people, people with lung and heart disease and young children. They also help people quit smoking.

Amy Berg, vice president of Property Management for @ Home Apartments, said everyone she has spoken with has viewed the smoke-free designation as a positive aspect of living in West River Commons. “We already have 50% of our apartments spoken for, and we expect that by the time people start moving in on August 1 we’ll be over 75% leased,” she said.

West River Commons is a joint venture of @Home Apartments and The Lander Group. In addition to 53 apartment homes (14 on two levels and 12 designated as affordable housing) it features three owner-occupied townhomes and 8,000 square feet of retail space and public plaza. Dunn Bros Coffee, Papa Murphy’s and Clean’n’Press have all leased retail space in the development.

Project partners include the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA) and the City of Minneapolis Public Arts Program. LaSalle Bank is the major lender. Shaw Lundquist is the general contractor. Architectural and landscape architecture services are provided by DJR and Close Landscape Architecture, respectively.

To learn more about West River Commons, visit For information on apartment rentals, contact Amy Berg at 612-721-7711, and on retail leasing contact Alan Spaulding at 651-225-8227 ext. 13. For information on townhome sales contact Mike Dean at 612-822-1545 or

@Home Apartments is renowned in the Twin Cities for providing utmost service to their patrons and continually improving their buildings. Its roots are represented in restoring and upgrading turn-of-the-century buildings along Grand Avenue (St. Paul) and in Uptown (Minneapolis.) Experience and expertise in property management and maintenance in historic buildings have also translated well into other period apartment buildings. Today, @Home Apartments owns and manages apartment buildings of all types. Visit for more information.

The Lander Group is an award-winning urban development firm based in Minneapolis. It specializes in producing distinctive, high-quality residential and commercial buildings in the cities on Minneapolis, St. Paul and Des Moines. Lander Group projects are designed to reflect the unique character of the neighborhoods in which they are located. Over the last 20 years, the firm has built a strong reputation in new construction, adaptive reuse of existing properties and historic preservation.

Press Contacts:
Amy Berg Deb Garvey
@ Home Apartments
651-225-8227 ext. 16

or Garvey Communications

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