Lofty Plans: Luxury Apartments Sprouting Up in Eau Claire

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"They have underground heated garage parking, an exercise facility, cherry cabinets, very upscale units,” describes Brian Johnson.

Johnson, the President of JCap Management shows off what will soon be Eau Claire's latest luxury loft development on 320 Graham Avenue.

"The units will range in price from 690 to just under 1100, so we do have some units that are less expensive,” says Johnson.

And despite the economy, people are flocking to up-scale, downtown living.

"We have 10 of these apartments already pre-leased,” says Johnson. “Some people who have signed leases are from the medical area, we have a few nurses from the hospitals here.”

The vacancy rate for Eau Claire is at the lowest that Mike Schatz of Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., can remember.

"It's at zero percent. It's as low as you can get!" says Schatz.

Schatz says it's not just the wealthy settling in the area.

"The Phoenix Parkside apartments is definitely upscale in comparison to what they're used to. But there are plenty of renovations that are going in those that are probably more mid-market and might even be geared more towards students,” says Schatz.

And he hopes the re-growth of population will bring other development to the neighborhood.

"Let's say a grocery store, which we're trying to attract, when they look at the numbers, they'll feel comfortable that they'll have enough people to support their business,” says Schatz.

Johnson and Schatz say the biggest reason for moving downtown remains the same across demographics. They say people just want to be close to where they work and relax.

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