SOME CONDO BUILDINGS RESERVE the wow factor for the penthouse, but not 301 Kenwood. Its elevators open directly into every unit. The ground-floor parking lot is hidden from the street by a two-story townhouse. (There's another parking level underground.) This avant-garde solution is only fitting for a 13-unit luxury residence not far from the city's contemporary cultural center.

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Geared to a small niche market, 301 Kenwood has two condo units on each floor. “We sold these homes basically as shells, which were then customized,” says developer Michael Lander. Making the building sexy on the outside was an important first step in selling the concept. “People still had to pull up to the curb and feel good about it,” he says.

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The building maintains a classical three-tier structure, albeit a slightly unorthodox one. Stone at the base conveys a residential feeling, while the modern middle section—an interplay of solids and voids—is tempered with big windows and balconies. The cantilevered effect of its crown is echoed in a main entrance marked by an awning of seemingly unsupported steel beams.

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Category: Condominiums—for sale (tie); Entrant/ Developer/Land planner/Interior designer: Lander Group, Minneapolis; Architect: ESG Architects, Minneapolis; Builder: J.E. Dunn, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Landscape architect: Close Landscape Architecture, Minneapolis

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.