Opus Builds Alvera Apartments in St. Paul for The Ackerberg Group

The Ackerberg Group enlisted Opus' Client Direct Services group to construct Alvera, a 192-unit, 129,389-square-foot building in the iconic West 7th/Fort Road neighborhood in St. Paul.

The seven-story building sits on a half-acre near the corner of Grand Avenue and West 7th Street with close proximity to United Hospital, Children's Minnesota Hospital, Xcel Energy Center and the West 7th entertainment district. The Ackerberg Group aptly recognized the site's potential to address demand for conveniently-located housing for the multitude of hospital employees and others drawn to the area's vibrant entertainment district.

Approximately 60% of the units are studio units of less than 400 square feet, offering affordable rents attractive to the target market. The balance are one- and two-bedroom units.

The first two levels of the building are above-grade, precast concrete and support five stories of prefabricated wood-framed modular apartment units. Opus installed façade material to the exterior of the building, which served as substrate for significant monumental artwork by a muralist retained by the owner.

Retail space and 110 covered parking spaces can be found on the ground level. The majority of parking spaces are within a unique, semi-automated parking system that stacks vehicles three-high.

The building was constructed on a very long and narrow parcel – roughly 360 feet long and only 78 feet wide. Private property is adjacent on both long sides, which limited construction access to the site's two narrow ends fronting the streets. This challenging access was compounded by the requirement of installing the prefabricated modular apartment units. Weighing up to 40,000 pounds each, erecting and setting them into place required a very large crane, for which very little space was available on the narrow urban site. 

With deep expertise building in tight urban areas, Opus was well-equipped to navigate these nuances. Agreements were negotiated with adjoining landowners to allow access for the crane and lift to erect and set the modular apartments. All subsequent façade work was completed from roof-mounted swing stages. 

Opus was chosen as general contractor for this project based on previous successful completions for The Ackerberg Group. In addition to providing value engineering and constructability assistance to the design team on the project, Opus provided the client with field integrated innovative solutions to ensure the project stayed on schedule. This was Opus' first prefabricated modular apartment construction project.  

Alvera Apartments were completed in October 2021.