Just Listed brings you the latest news and information from the Twin Cities-area commercial and residential real estate market and beyond from veteran reporters Jim Buchta and Kristen Leigh Painter.

Custom House Project in St. Paul pulls $38.4M in building permits

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter under Architecture Updated: March 6, 2015 - 10:14 AM

The former Post Office building, site of the Custom House redevelopment project. Source: State Review Board

The City of St. Paul issued $38.4 million in building permits this week to Exeter Realty Co. for the Custom House project in the former downtown Post Office building. 

It's a significant step, marking the transition from conceptual to tangible for the historic renovation project that will transform the Depression Era structure into a hotel and apartment complex. 

Last week, St. Paul-based Exeter announced it sold the portion of the property that will house a Hyatt Place hotel to Des Moines-based Nelson Construction and Development for $2.85 million. The two companies will work in tandem to gut and restore the key historic elements of the property. The plan includes a 149-room hotel and 202 market rate apartment units. 

The permits were issued to the project's general contractor, Frana Companies, a Hopkins-based construction firm with an impressive portfolio of historic rehab projects, including such notable properties as Else Warehouse and The Copham Residence in the North Loop, Soo Line Apartments in Minneapolis' central business district and Eitel Building City Apartments in Loring Park. 

The Star Tribune reported last week the total renovation costs are expected to top $100 million, With $25 million coming from historic tax credits. 

Ramsey County plans to demolish a string buildings, known as the West Publishing site, also on the Mississippi River bluffs in downtown St. Paul. Both projects seek to activate the riverfront, which many residents and civic leaders feel is the city's most underutilized asset.

Foreclosure rate in the Twin Cities far lower than the national average

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Foreclosures Updated: March 5, 2015 - 2:22 PM

Rising home prices and a relatively healthy jobs market mean fewer people in the Twin Cities metro are falling behind on their mortgage payment. The foreclosure rate in the region dipped to 0.52 percent during December 2014 from 0.73 percent last year, according to a monthly report from CoreLogic. Nationwide, the foreclosure rate stood at 1.47 percent for December 2014.

Delinquencies, an indication of future foreclosures, also declined to 2.16 percent of all mortgage loans compared with 2.75 percent last year.

Developer unveils final plans for apartments to replace Tryg's Restaurant

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture Updated: March 4, 2015 - 2:20 PM


Trammell Crow has closed on the land and is moving forward with plans to build 164 luxury apartments and a new restaurant on the 1.89 acre Tryg's Restaurant site in the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis. The project (3118 W. Lake)  is being developed by High Street Residential, a subsidiary of Trammell Crow Company, which has received all necessary entitlements and will start construction on the six-story, mixed-use building this spring. The project will include a 5,000 square-foot restaurant that will be owned operated by the current Tryg's owner, but the concept and name will be different.

The project is in what's known as the West Lake Corridor, and is adjacent to the Minneapolis Greenway. The project is expected to be ready for occupancy by the middle of next year. “The former Tryg’s site provides access to a combination of retail and recreational amenities offering future residents luxury-living, coupled with convenience and efficiency that will cater to multiple rental segments,” said Johnny Carlson, Senior Vice President of Trammell Crow Company’s Midwest business unit.

The building will include studio, alcove, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, two-bedroom plus a den and three-bedroom apartments. ESG Architects is the project architect, and a joint venture between Continuum Construction/Big D Construction will be the general contractor.

Trammell Crow has been busy in the Twin Cities. The company is developing The Island Residences at Carlson Center (174 luxury apartments) in Minnetonka and Arcata (165 luxury apartments) in Golden Valley, and recently completed and sold Junction Flats, a 182-unit luxury apartment project in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood.

Twin Cities, U.S. home prices rising in lockstep

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Buying Updated: March 3, 2015 - 1:36 PM

Home prices in the Twin Cities metro are increasing at almost the same pace as the national average. CoreLogic said this morning that single-family home prices in Twin Cities increased 5.1 percent from January 2014 to January 2015 compared with a 5.7 percent increase nationwide. The report also said that was the 35th month of consecutive year-over-year increases, and that from December to January prices increased 1.1 percent. Local data also shows that home prices are on the rise, we'll have a full February report sometime next week.

Knutson Construction selected to expand Mayo Civic Center

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter under Architecture Updated: March 2, 2015 - 5:26 PM

The City of Rochester has selected Knutson Construction as the general contractor of its $85-million Mayo Civic Center expansion.

The company bid the project for $71.6 million and was selected based on its experience and past performance, according to a news release. 

The expansion is scheduled to be complete in 2017 and will double the size of the center's meeting and event space at Mayo Civic Center, including a new 38,800-square-foot ballroom.

Graves Hospitality approved by committee to develop MSP airport hotel

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter under Architecture Updated: March 2, 2015 - 5:07 PM

The hotel concept at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport cleared a hurdle Monday when Metropolitan Airports Commission approved Grave Hospitality as the project's developer. Jim Graves, Chairman and CEO of Graves Hospitality

MAC staff's selection of Graves goes to the full commission on March 16 for approval. Renderings and design elements were not shared at the committee meeting, but several commissioners requested visual elements be presented at the next meeting. 

"We have some really beautiful renderings," said Jim Graves, CEO of the development firm. "We are totally elated about being a part of this process."

It's not final until Minneapolis-based Graves signs the ground lease -- which will be effective for between 40 and 60 years -- but once they get the greenlight, Graves said they are committed to starting immediately. 

The goal is to be up and running by the time Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl in 2018.

Graves Hospitality selects its concept properties carefully, with an eye for unique neighborhoods and local character. 

"It will be a luxury, boutique hotel...very friendly, very Minnesotan," Graves said. "It will not be corporate," but will offer the amenities important to both locals and travelers who are in-transit.

Graves declined to reveal the brand, but said the firm already has a hotel partner onboard. The skyway connection to the concourse will be outside of security, but "we think it's really important to be a part of the airport community," he added. 

As reported last week, Graves proposal was selected over Golden Valley-based M.A. Mortenson and St. Paul-based Morrissey Hospitality Companies. It will be the first full-service hotel at the MSP airport. 

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