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 Janet Moore.

Posts about Architecture

Droning on about drones

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 17, 2014 - 4:03 PM
In this photo taken on Friday, March 7, 2014 and provided by Foxfire Realty, Jonathan Collins, right, and Paul Grist, test-fly Foxfire Realty’s new camera-equipped drone at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, W.Va. The drone, named Chopper Foxfire, carries a high-resolution Go-Pro camera capable of taking high-definition video and still photos. (AP Photo/Foxfire Realty)

In this photo taken on Friday, March 7, 2014 and provided by Foxfire Realty, Jonathan Collins, right, and Paul Grist, test-fly Foxfire Realty’s new camera-equipped drone at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds in Lewisburg, W.Va. The drone, named Chopper Foxfire, carries a high-resolution Go-Pro camera capable of taking high-definition video and still photos. (AP Photo/Foxfire Realty)

If you read my Sunday story about the rising - and controversial - use of drones to help sell real estate, you might be interested in a couple tidbits on the topic:

  1. There was a gathering in Thief River Falls on Tuesday aimed at further the conversation about how to make Northwest Minnesota a drone hotspot, or a drone technology center. Here's the story from my colleague, Adam Belz.
  2. A recent item in the Wall Street Journal, and on a tech-focused website called TechCrunch, says that Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone startup that makes high-flying robots that was previously scoped by Facebook as a potential acquisition target.
  3. To counter the many misconceptions and misinformation about regulations related to unmanned aircraft system (aka drones,) the FAA recently released a new fact sheet that includes what it says are common myths and the corresponding facts.

Architecture you can eat

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 16, 2014 - 3:37 PM

In May, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) and The Red Stag Supper Club have teamed up to celebrate Preservation Month with several special "heritage" menus based on architectural styles that are common to the Midwest. Red Stag's executive chef, TJ Rawitzer, will create the menu. Here's the line-up:

  • May 5—11: Victorian era (late 1800's)
  • May 12—18: Bungalow (1920's)
  • May 19—25: Tudor (1930's)
  • May 26—June 1: Mid-Century Modern (1950's)

In case you were wondering, Preservation Month was established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is co-sponsored by local preservation groups and state historical societies across the country. Get more details about Preservation Month, including information about a sneak-peak of the Pioneer Endicott building in downtown St. Paul on Tuesday May 20th and a Historic Pub Crawl in Red Wing on Saturday May 10th, by clicking here.

Twin Cities home builders launch 'Artisan Home Tour'

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 14, 2014 - 4:11 PM

A rendering of a house by Schrader & Companies that will be featured on the Artisan Home Tour

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) is adding a new, ticketed home tour this summer to its stable of Parade of Homes events.

The Artisan Home Tour will feature 25 "artisan-quality homes" during its inaugural run June 7-15, 2014. Here's BATC's description of the qualifications: "All the homes on the tour are built by members of the BATC and the home plans were reviewed by an architectural review panel to ensure architectural integrity and high-quality finish level."

Tickets: Online for $25 or at the door for $30, or $5 for an individual home. Half the net proceeds of ticket sales will be donated to BATC’s charitable arm, the BATC Foundation, which builds and remodels homes for families in need.

For more info: ArtisanHomeTour.org is online now. Guidebooks will also be published and distributed by direct mail to some households and will be included with the Summer issue of Artful Living Magazine. Guidebooks may also be picked up at participating homes.

Lennar Corp. reigns - once again - as Minnesota's biggest home builder

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 27, 2014 - 2:16 PM

For the eighth year in a row, Lennar Corp. was Minnesota's biggest home builder, according to annual survey by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).

The Miami, Florida-based company reported gross revenues of $224 million and built 434 single family and 98 multi-family homes (532 total) during 2013. Lennar outpaced the second-ranked builder, Pulte Homes of Minnesota, by 70 percent.

Bill Burgess, Minnesota Division president, reacts: “At Lennar, our focus is on our homeowners and their families, and I believe that’s the Lennar difference. That’s why our home buyers have enabled us to be the Twin Cities number-one home builder,” he said.

Historically the Twin Cities was a market dominated by home-grown, locally owned companies, but over the past decade that's changed. All of the top five ranked builders last year were national firms with corporate offices located outside of Minnesota. Here are the other top companies by volume:

  • Pulte Homes of Minnesota had $131 million in revenues and built 274 units.
  • D.R. Horton-Minnesota had almost $121 million in revenue and built 289 units.
  • Ryland Homes - Twin Cities Division had $117 million in revenues and built 345 units.
  • Mattamy Homes had $99 million in revenue and built 300 units.

Housing construction in the Twin Cities is on pace to beat last year

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 27, 2014 - 11:28 AM

Home builders in the Twin Cities metro are operating at the same pace as they did last year, but there' beena slight decline in requests to build apartments. That's according to a monthly report released today from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), which shows that during the past four weeks 360 permits were issued to build 482 units.

Compared with last year, that was about the same number of single-family houses, but an eight percent drop in total units because of a decline in permits to build apartments and other kinds of multi-family housing.

Shawn Nelson, Builders Association of the Twin Cities 2014 president and president of New Spaces, said that buyers are being motivated by several factors.

“Prospective buyers are seeing prices rise, inventories decline, and mortgage interest rates moving upward, all creating a sense of urgency for families to make the decision to buy now,” Nelson said. “Reports from builders in our Spring Parade of Homes have been very positive,” said

Year-to-date, there were 1,028 permits issued for a total of 2,011 units. That's a t 1.5 percent increase in permits and a 20-percent increase in planned units.

Moundsview took over the top spot in permit activity for the month in activity, permitting 99 units in one multi-family building. Blaine and Plymouth both came in second with 30 units permitted, followed by Lakeville with 29 and Medina with 20.

Here's a link to the full report.

Two new apartment buildings would bring more density - and controversy - to north end of Lake Calhoun

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 26, 2014 - 12:20 PM
The images at left show the site and 8-story building planned by Greystar next to the Calhoun Beach Club, the images at right show Trammel Crow's six-story building at the Tryg's Restaurant site.

The images at left show the site and 8-story building planned by Greystar next to the Calhoun Beach Club, the images at right show Trammel Crow's six-story building at the Tryg's Restaurant site.

Here's a first look at at a pair of proposals from two different developers that will increase the density of a popular neighborhood on the north end of Lake Calhoun.

Greystar, a North Carolina-based company plans to build a eight-story luxury apartment building next to the Calhoun Beach Club. The 90-unit building will feature large, three-bedroom apartments aimed at attracting families. And Texas-based Trammel Crow is planning a six-story building with about 150 apartments where Tryg's restaurant now stands at 3118 W. Lake Street. That building was originally going to be 11-stories tall.

Both projects are still working their way through the approval process and are smaller than originally proposed in part because of of feedback from the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association, which will review the latest rendition of the the projects at 6 p.m. on April 7 at the Jones Harrison Residence.

Stay tuned for more details.

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