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

Junction Flats apartments in Minneapolis sells for $49 million

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: November 12, 2014 - 10:25 AM

Another national investor is making a big investment in Twin Cities real estate. South Carolina-based Greystar paid $49 million - a whopping $270,000 per unit - for the Junction Flats apartments in the North Loop neighborhood in downtown Minneapolis, according to public records.

The 182-unit property was developed by Dallas-based Trammell Crow in one of the most rapidly developing developing corners of the city. The building is at 643 Fifth St. N. near Target Field and the new Target Field Station transit hub, and is within walking distance of downtown Central Business District. Residents started moving in on August 1 and the building is nearly half occupied.

Greystar is a big national player that's relatively new to Minneapolis. The company developed Elan, a massive multi-phase luxury apartment building with nearly 600 units along the Midtown Greenway in the Uptown neighborhood, and is planning to build a high-rise apartment building along Lake Calhoun.

Trammell Crow has been active in the Twin Cities, as well. The company developed Arcata, a 165 unit rental bulding at Xenia and Golden Hills Drive in Golden Valley, and that's scheduled to open December 1. The company is also building the 175-unit Island Residences at Carlson Center in Minnetonka.

Several major commercial and apartment properties in the Twin Cities have been snapped up national investors who have paid premium prices. Just last week, for example, a Chicago-based partnership paid a record price for the Normandale Lake Office Park.

Kraus-Anderson postpones decision on downtown HQ after neighborhood pushback

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter Updated: November 7, 2014 - 3:25 PM

(submitted rendering)

After months of pushback from the Eliot Park Neighborhood organization and tepid feedback from the city, Kraus-Anderson has withdrawn its proposal for a new headquarters downtown Minneapolis that was scheduled for consideration at the Planning Commission's Nov. 10 meeting.

The construction company presented its design for a four-floor, 80,000 square foot office building multiple times to the city, most recently on Oct. 14, and was told each time to make some changes and come back in a few weeks. The new headquarters, if approved, would double the number of employees at the company's downtown location.

The main issue for the city has centered around Kraus-Anderson's inclusion of a surface parking lot in its plan, while the neighborhood is worried that the suggested exterior materials may not match the character of the district. 

Mike Korsh, director of real estate development for Kraus-Anderson, said in an interview prior to the Oct. 14th meeting that he was fairly confident that the tweaks their architectural firm, Pope Architects, had made would win approval. He said his staff had met with neighborhood representatives multiple times and cited the city staff's recommendation that the Commission greenlight the project as "a good sign". 

Minneapolis senior planner Becca Farrar presented the division's research at the last meeting, noting the changes, but also highlighting the continued existence of a surface parking lot. Kraus-Anderson argues that they tested the market to see if there was interest in the other half-block -- where they were proposing the surface lot -- but said there wasn't a tenant interested in occupying that space at present. 

So a compromise between the city and Kraus-Anderson was included in the proposal's latest version: the company could build the lot, but in five years would have to try to find another commercial use for the space. If no one wanted to build on the site, Kraus-Anderson would then have to reapply for an interim use permit allowing a surface parking lot. 

The neighborhood asked for a few specific changes during public comment at the Oct. 14 meeting. First, they would like to see more use of the traditional red tones that are emblematic of the neighborhood. Second, they want to see a more "welcoming" back door and some more trees so that the neighbors don't feel like they are facing the building's backside. And, third, they asked for Kraus-Anderson to consider putting a wrought iron fence around its property to mirror the historic brownstones across the street. 

Kraus-Anderson has not said when it will resubmit another proposal. 

Minneapolis narrows candidate pool to three for Downtown East public park

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter Updated: November 6, 2014 - 11:12 AM

The City of Minneapolis has narrowed the pool to three landscape architecture firms competing to design the 4.2-acre public park next to the new Vikings Stadium. 

A review team will interview the remaining candidates vying for the high-profile green project called The Commons, formerly known as The Yard.

The three teams are: 

  • Olin/Snow Kreilich Architects
  • Hargreaves  Associates/Damon Farber Associates/VJAA
  • WORKSHOP Ken Smith/Perkins + Will

The city received 14 proposals from both local and national firms by the Oct. 15 deadline.

Representatives from the various stakeholders in the Downtown East redevelopment will compose the review team. That group will then make a recommendation by mid-November for which firm they believe should be awarded the two-block project. Minneapolis City Council is expected to approve a landscape architect by the end of the year. 

Home by John Howe, Frank Lloyd Wright's draftsman, for sale in Golden Valley

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter Updated: October 29, 2014 - 5:05 PM

(photo: Matt Dahlman/Red Pine Photography)

Nearly everyone knows about architect Frank Lloyd Wright, but few are familiar with his chief draftsman, John Howe, who designed more than 80 structures in Minnesota, including a Golden Valley home that was put up for sale this week.

The property at 601 Meadow Lane South is still in its orginal form having never undergone renovations. The realtor says it is in need of updating, but highlights the opportunity the house presents for someone interested in working with its uncorrupted design. 

Howe built it in 1969 closely following the PrairieMod design priciples:

  • form is function
  • bring the outside in
  • think natural

This contemporary house is blended with the surrounding landscape and is nearly invisble from the road. These intentional design elements reflect Prairie School-style architecture that is marked by horizontal lines, cantilevers and an emphasis on craftsmanship meant to imitate the Midwest's native prairie landscape. 

Only two owners have ever occupied the house. The current seller has lived in it for the last 31 years.

First look: Velo apartments in downtown Minneapolis

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: October 24, 2014 - 11:08 AM

Just Listed got a private tour of one of downtown Minneapolis’s newest apartment buildings, and this one has a theme: Vélo, the shortened version of the French word “velocipede,” or bike, and also the last name of a famous Italian cyclist, Marco Velo.  As you’d expect, the building is chock full of amenities for those with a fondness for their two-wheelers. That includes a bike repair room with tire pumps, tools and a work bench. There are three heated bike garages with assigned spaces. And the building has no shortage of cycle-themed art. Also worth noting:

  • The building has 101 units with 13 floor plans, with studios renting fastest. It is now 70 percent leased and about a third of the residents are new to the Twin Cities.
  • It also has a massage room, shuffleboard game, outdoor sun showers, and bocce court.
  • Despite the bike-centric amenities, the building has 1.2 parking spaces per unit in two levels of underground parking.
  • Oh, and you’ll never starve. Red Cow Restaurant and Bar — known for its gourmet burgers — will be opening on the building’s ground floor early next year.
Shuffleboard anyone? Builder owners, Paola and Luigi Bernadi of Sentinel Management and Aurora Investments; site manager, Amanda Kelzenberg and Nick Murnane, real estate manager for Opus Development.

Shuffleboard anyone? Builder owners, Paola and Luigi Bernadi of Sentinel Management and Aurora Investments; site manager, Amanda Kelzenberg and Nick Murnane, real estate manager for Opus Development.





St. Paul grants developer status to Opus/Greco for Seven Corners Gateway

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter Updated: October 22, 2014 - 4:44 PM

St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority has granted two Minneapolis-based development firms, Opus and Greco, preliminary developer status on the Seven Corners Gateway site.

Opus Development Co. and Greco Development have been greenlighted to flesh out its plans for the site, which is currently used as a surface parking lot.

HRA owns the highly visible 2.4-acre parcel that sits across 7th Street from Xcel Energy Center and has established an 18-month timeline with benchmarks for Opus and Greco. If the developers reach all of them by April 2016, which the city expects, the two parties will negotiate for final developer status. 

Opus and Greco's preliminary proposal beat out M.A. Mortenson Co. with its mixed-use plan. 

While the details will come to light over the next year and a half, Opus and Greco are proposing a hotel, luxury apartments and retail space in the building. But the proposal suggests that the public plaza will be its centerpiece, opening up toward the arena. 


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