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.

Hillcrest signs first tenant in former Minneapolis School District HQ building

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter Updated: October 21, 2014 - 5:33 PM

It's as much about the tone of a tenant as it is about the size of one, says Scott Tankenoff of Hillcrest Development. 

And that's why the developer is thrilled that Sport Ngin is the first business to sign a lease in Hillcrest's renovation project at 807 Broadway in Northeast Minneapolis, the former site of the Minneapolis School District headquarters.

"It’s not about who is going to be paying the most money but who brings the right synergy,” said Tankenoff, Hillcrest's managing partner. "I think this is a tenant that could set the tone and tenor of this building and the direction it goes.”

Sport Ngin is a sports-league software company currently occupying space in the same neighborhood. The business is entering the space planning phase for its 30,000 square foot unit on the third floor. June 2015 is Sport Ngin's targeted move-in date.

But, Tankenoff says, Sport Ngin won't even fill 20 percent of the building, which was originally a light bulb factory. 

“I’m not worried about the size of the tenants. I’m looking for the right ones. That building will fill,” he said. "What they are doing is looking for a place that reflects their culture, but also helps attract and retain employees."

This emphasis on amenities and community is at the heart of Hillcrest's own vision. 

“Our core competency is to find something that’s broken and solve the puzzle,” Tankenoff said.


Salvation Army may move rehab center from North Loop to Coon Rapids

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter under Buying Updated: October 21, 2014 - 12:28 PM

The Salvation Army is proposing a new 107,000 square foot residential rehab center in Coon Rapids that would replace its deterioating facility in Minneapolis' trendy North Loop neighborhood. 

The religious organization has provided rehabilitation services to residents at its current location, 900 N. 4th St., since 1964.

But as Maj. Graham Allan and Maj. Gerald O’Neil of The Salvation Army explain in a letter to the City of Coon Rapids

"Due to deteriorating structural conditions and functional obsolescence of many aspects of The ARC’s current facility, the replacement and move to Coon Rapids is proposed. In addition to evaluating the option of redevelopment and reuse of the existing ARC site, a search for a replacement facility has been underway for approximately 5 years. Site and building condition, size, layout and location are but several of the factors that have been part of this relocation evaluation process. The property under consideration in Coon Rapids has adequate land area and access to accommodate the differing uses required for the program."

The organization's existing facility site has watched its neighborhood transform over the years with a boom in North Loop real estate, particularly residential. But Salvation Army's move remains uncertain until all the appropriate approvals -- including rezoning -- are given by the City of Coon Rapids. 

National developer makes play for Superior Plating site

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture Updated: October 20, 2014 - 5:50 PM
Demolition of the Superior Plating building in early April.

Demolition of the Superior Plating building in early April.

A new plan is unfolding for the Superior Plating Co. site in northeast Minneapolis. Representatives for Lennar Multifamily, a division of one of the nation's largest home builders, will discuss plans for the 5.4-acre property, which has been the subject of a massive environmental clean-up effort and numerous development proposals, at a Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association meeting Thursday evening.

Peter Chmielewski, senior development manager for Lennar Multifamily Communities, is on NIEBNA's agenda as the new site's "new developer," but said that it's too soon to discuss details. Third Ward Council member, Jacob Frey called the nearly two-block site a development "lynch-pin," and said that expectations for whatever gets built there are high. A previous development proposal called for a six-story, wood-framed rental apartment building. "That would not be okay," he said. "We are insisting upon a 100-year building which means steel and concrete....we're looking to expand upon the number of residental units and we want a project that activates street life in a big way. Our message to Lennar, and they're aware of this, is 'satisfactory is not going to cut the mustard here.'"

Frey expects the plan to have commercial on the ground floor with housing in one or more towers with residential units that could convertible from rental to ownership, and vice versa. Earlier this year a Florida developer abandoned plans to build about 500 units after terminating its purchase of the site from an entity connected to San Francisco-based City Center Realty Partners. Superior Plating, a metal plating company, ceased operation in 2011.

Housing slowdown taking the shine off home improvement spending

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture, Buying Updated: October 20, 2014 - 12:02 PM

The remodeling industry is going to need a little sprucing up of its own. Harvard University expects a more modest housing recovery to cause a slow-down in home improvement spending across the country. Annual growth in home improvement spending is expected to ease to 3.1 percent - about half of peak - through the second quarter of 2015, according to Harvard's Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) from the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“Stronger gains in remodeling activity are unlikely given the recent slowdowns we’ve seen in housing starts, sales, and house price gains,” says Chris Herbert, acting managing director at the Joint Center. “While the continued recovery in employment should ultimately keep the market on an upward trajectory, remodeling is likely to see slower growth rates moving into 2015.”

Remodeling activity continues to hover around its long-term average, and in many parts of the country remodelers and contractors are still optimistic about future growth in spending. Click here for more details.

City of Minneapolis seeks proposals for key Gateway District plot

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter under Architecture Updated: October 15, 2014 - 1:14 PM

Minneapolis is seeking development proposals for an entire city block, commonly called the Nicollet Hotel Block, that is key to many leaders' vision for the Gateway District.

The plot, 30 Third Street South, sits at the intersection of several thriving downtown districts. Bordered by Washington Avenue, Hennepin Avenue, Third Street South and Nicollet Mall. A surface parking lot currently occuplies the 1.7 block. 

The city's request for proposals (RFP) outlines its goals for that critical junction:

  • an iconic, high-quality, designed new construction structure(s) of at least 20 active floors
  • a mix of commercial, retail, residential, office and hotel uses
  • active street-level retail
  • integrated green space for the public

"The Nicollet Hotel block has arguably the most potential of any parcel in the city, and consequently we will not settle for anything short of iconic,” said Ward 3 Council Member Jacob Frey, in a news release.  “In one fell swoop we can add people to downtown, create green space, and trigger connection to the river. We expect that designers and developers will bring their best.”

Minneapolis' Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) department staff has a pre-proposal Q&A meeting scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 6 at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the RFP. 

Proposals must be submitted by Dec. 11. 

MN Real Estate Hall of Fame gets three new members

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture, Buying Updated: October 14, 2014 - 11:51 AM

The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame has three new members, including two who hail from the St. Cloud area.

George Karvel chaired the real estate programs at both the University of St. Thomas and St. Cloud State University and has been a prolific writer, lecturer and litigation consultant. He's best-known for his popular Sunday morning real estate program on WCCO radio and a newspaper column.

George Karvel

George Karvel

Cyril “Cy” Kuefler Sr. (1925-2001) was a successful real estate entrepreneur also from the St. Cloud area. Here's what the nomination report said about him: "He worked hard to promote his own business and to improve his profession. He believed in the power of education and played a significant role in elevating the educational and ethical standards within the real estate industry. His progressive vision included real estate programs in higher education and his efforts have had far-reaching and long-lasting benefits for real estate students, consumers and companies in Minnesota."

Jim Stanton been credited for shaping the terrain of a large metropolitan area. From Coon Rapids’ Riverdale Village in the north metro to Prior Lake’s Wilds Golf Course in the south metro, Stanton has developed more than 6,000 home sites in 28 metro area cities. He's also built numerous commercial buildings, and according to the nomination report "has made a significant contribution to the real estate industry through the projects he has completed and through his extraordinary service work with industry-related organizations."

Jim Stanton

Jim Stanton

The inductees will be honored during a morning ceremony from 8 to 10:30 a.m Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club with a keynote address by Robert Senkler, chairman and CEO of the Securian Financial Group and chair of the Minnesota Business Partnership. The program is open to the public and the cost is $50. The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame was established in 2010 by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Find out who else is the Hall of Fame by clicking here.


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