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.

Posts about Architecture

It's move-in day at the Nic on Fifth apartments in downtown Mpls.

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 12, 2014 - 9:14 PM

Starting today, the 24/7 population of downtown Minneapolis will get a little bigger. The first wave of residents is moving into the Nic on Fifth apartment building, a 26-story tower at the corner of Nicollet Mall and 5th St. where rents range from $1,300 for an “alcove” unit to about $2,900 a month. Penthouses rents start at $3,500 a month.

A representative for the company said the building is 40 percent pre-leased, and nearly everyone who’s moving in signed up sight-unseen. At this point, about 60 percent of those renters are baby boomers.

The building has 20,000 square feet of street and skyway level retail space and 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities on the sixth floor, including a garden roof deck with pool and spa, a rooftop dog run and fitness and yoga studios. No retail tenants have been announced.

The Nic is just one of several significant downtown buildings opening this fall. The first residents moved into Vélo, another Opus project, on July 15. And on Aug. 2, the first residents of the 36-story LPM Apartments tower on the edge of Loring Park started unpacking.

Across town near the University of Minnesota campus, Opus recently completed the Venue at Dinkytown, Opus’ third mixed-use student housing project since 2012. The 246-bed, luxury student housing project is 97 percent leased. Starbucks, Great Clips and Gina+Will, a new concept clothing store from Goodwill, are on the main level.

A slow-down in home sales hasn't made it any easier to find a spot to build a house in the Twin Cities

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 5, 2014 - 3:37 PM

A cooling housing recovery hasn't made it any easier to find a spot to build a house in the Twin Cities. In fact, lot inventory is at the lowest level since since early 2007, according to a 2nd-quarter survey from the Twin Cities office of Metrostudy, a national real estate research company. There are now 20,690 vacant developed lots throughout the seven-county metro, 7.9 percent fewer than last year.

In his report, Chris Huecksteadt, regional director of Metrostudy’s Minneapolis/St. Paul region, explains it this way: “The recent increase in new home demand has created a run on desirable vacant developed lots throughout the metro region. Lot supplies across the metro area are down to just 25.6 months, below pre-housing boom figures. As activity continues to increase we will need to see substantial lot deliveries across the metro in order to meet current demand."

Other hightlights from the report:

  • Almost 50 percent of all new homes started over the last 12 months were priced from $250,000 to $400,000 the largest percentage of starts in that segment since Metrostudy began tracking the market.
  • While more than 80 percent of all new starts are for single-family homes, rising price and a shortage of lots in the best locations will drive buyers into townhomes and other attached housing.
  • At the end of March, there were 2,769 new houses available for purchase, just 136 more than last quarter. Of that total, 2,035 (73 percent) were under construction, 486 (17 percent) were finished, but vacant and 248 (10 percent) are model homes.
  • At the current sales pace, the supply of new houses on the market would last 5.9 months, slightly below equilibrium levels of six to seven months. .

Historic North Loop building slated to become boutique hotel

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: September 4, 2014 - 12:44 PM

A Chicago/Milwaukee development duo is planning to convert the historic Jackson Building in the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis into a 120-room hotel with a restaurant/bar aimed at creating "an enclave for locals and appeal to travelers in search of an authentic, one-of-one Minneapolis experience."

The yet-to-be-named hotel could become only the second hotel in the North Loop is and is slated to be developed by a joint venture ( "300 Washington Avenue LLC") between Milwaukee-based Fe Equus Development, which developed the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, and the Aparium Hotel Group of Chicago, which will manage the hotel and restaurant/bar.

The dark red brick building has been a fortress-like presence at the bustling corner of Washington and Third Avenues since the very late 1800s and was at one time a farm implement showroom and warehouse. Even as the warehouses around it have been redeveloped, the five-story building has been vacant for years. Wayzata Partners was the most recent owner of the building, but their attempts to convert the building into 70 market-rate rental apartments failed and the building went back to the bank.

The 300 Washington Avenue LLC bought the 93,000 square-foot building at the end of July from MinnWest Bank for $4.6 million and is working with Twin Cities-based ESG Architects on plans for the conversion.To finance the project, the group plans to apply for historic tax credits, and says they've lined up a lender to finance construction. Plans have yet to be submitted to the city, but construction is expected to begin next year in time for a 2016 opening.

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'Twas the dog days of summer for Twin Cities home builders

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 29, 2014 - 2:44 PM

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:

  1. Minneapolis: 83 units.
  2. Maple Grove: 40 units
  3. Blaine: 32 units.
  4. Woodbury: 26
  5. Lakeville: 21 units

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A first look at what could be the next new condo tower in downtown Minneapolis

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 28, 2014 - 12:47 PM

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.

Construction up a whopping 71 percent in the Twin Cities metro last month

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: August 26, 2014 - 12:29 PM

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:

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