With home sales down and apartment development in a lull, home and apartment construction slowed considerably in the Twin Cities metro this month. During August home builders were issued 413 permits to build 532 units - a 50 percent decline in planned units compared with last year, according to data compiled by the Keystone Report for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). Here were the top-five cities for construction during August:
Here's a first look at the condo tower Jim Stanton of Shamrock Development wants to build at 8th St. and Portland Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Stanton, always willing to take a chance, now owns the quarter-block site in the Eliot Park neighborhood just a couple blocks from the new Vikings Stadium where he plans to build a tower (designed by Oertel Architects Ltd in St. Paul) with about 15 floors and about 110 units.Though thousands of apartments are under construction in the city, only a couple solid proprosals have been presented. Stanton's plan has yet to make its way through the city and community approvals process, but Stanton is confident it will move forward this fall. He was the first developer to build new condos post-Recession in Minneapolis and the market responded favorably. At StoneBridge Lofts, which is along Gold Medal Park in the Mill District neighborhood along the Mississippi River, all but eight of the 164 units sold less than a year after the building was finished. Stay tuned for a full story in the Friday paper.
If there's office space, then Metro Transit's Blue Line extension (also known as the Bottineau Line) must be happening.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Council's Transportation Committee unanimously recommended renting an office in Crystal for the Blue Line Extension Project. The Met Council will vote on the proposal at its Sept. 10 meeting.
If approved, Met Council staff will negotiate with Crystal Gallery Developers for a 20,000-square-foot space in the Crystal Gallery Office Building. The lease is expected to last for seven years beginning Oct. 1, for an amount not to exceed $2.6 million.
Mark Fuhrmann, Metro Transit’s program director for New Starts projects, noted in a statement that it was almost three years ago to the day that the Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT Project) reached this phase to enter project development.
He said only two other states – Maryland and Texas – have two projects simultaneously in the pipeline. “We are now members of a very exclusive club,” Fuhrmann said.
The Transportation Committee is expected to authorize an engineering services contract next month. Consultants from the engineering services firm will be working in the project office, along with staff from Metro Transit, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County.
“That’s the model we have employed since 1999 on Hiawatha [LRT], and it’s proved very successful,” Fuhrmann said. It’s imperative to have staff under one roof to solve problems, he said. It also saves money because the consultants don’t have to rent separate office space and purchase their own IT equipment, he added.
With an abundance of construction cranes towering around the metro, this should come as no surprise: Construction contracts in the 13-county Twin Cites metro during July were up a whopping 71% percent compared with last year, accoriding to the latest McGraw Hill Construction report:
Now that Metro Transit's Green Line is in service, and two others in the works (Southwest and Bottineau), an ample amount of thought has been devoted to craft ways for rail users and pedestrians to safely use the Downtown East light-rail stop, particularly during Vikings games.
On Monday, the Metro Transit officials briefed the Met Council's Transportation Committee on a proposed pedestrian bridge over Chicago Av. S. that would link the new $1 billion Vikings stadium to a plaza near the intersection of Park Av. S. and Fourth St. In short, officials hope to avoid a dangerous scrum of fans on the rail tracks before and after games.
Metro Transit will issue requests-for-proposals for the project by mid-September. The transit agency will likely devote $6 millon from its coffers for the project (this figure could be offset by federal grants), with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (which oversees stadium construction) ponying up $2 million, and the rest coming from bonds issues by the Met Council.
Last year, about 6,700 Vikings fans (about 10 percent) took light-rail transit to games. The two Vikings games played at TCF Stadium at the University of Minnesota saw 20 percent of attendees taking the new Green Line, which connects the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Once all four light-rail lines are completed, that figure could jump to 40 percent of game-goers, Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr said.
House prices in the Twin Cities and nearly every major metro in the country increased at a much more moderate pace during June, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
In the Twin Cities metro, prices were up 6.7 percent compared with last year and just 0.6 percent compared with the previous month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices were down 2.3 percent from May to June.
A composite index of 20 metropolitan areas shows that from May to June prices increased 1 percent, but declined 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. That index was up 8.1 percent compared with last year, but just 6.7 percent across the U.S.
It was the first time since February 2008 that all cities showed lower annual increases than the previous month, but the numbers were in line with expectations. Analysts say that more moderate price gains are a positive influence for the market because of the diminishing risk of a price bubble.
The closely watched report uses public records to track prices of single-family homes by comparing thousands of repeat sales of the same houses in each region.