New south Minneapolis apartment building will showcase green

Drive by 2718 Grand Avenue S. in Minneapolis now and you’ll see an unremarkable single-family home built in 1981 with vinyl siding, poor insulation and a gas furnace. 

But by next summer, owner/developer Jay Rajaratnam hopes you’d do a double-take. He and architect Adam Bradley Jonas are replacing the house with a 12-unit apartment building that will showcase green building techniques such as using all electric energy and sustainable-living elements such as gardens and fruit trees. 

“We want to have a positive environmental impact and a positive community impact,” Jonas said. “We can’t solve everything by making a building, but we can definitely do better.” 

The construction techniques and materials the team are using aren’t rocket science, said Richard Graves, director and associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sustainable Building Research. They’re solid, sustainable practices that few market-rate developers are using here.