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

Home builders increasingly confident

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: June 16, 2014 - 11:09 AM

U.S. home builders are clearing feeling more confident this summer. A monthly measure of the health - and confidence of builders and new home buyers - exceeded expectations during June. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) rose four points to 49, only one point shy of the threshold for what is considered good building conditions.

“After several months of little fluctuation, a four-point uptick in builder sentiment is a welcome sign and shows some renewed confidence in the industry,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “However, builders are facing strong headwinds, including the limited availability of labor.”

Here's how the survey works:

Builders rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for various components are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Here's how all three index components performed this month:

  • The component gauging current sales conditions increased six points to 54.
  • The component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose three points to 59.
  • The component measuring buyer traffic increased by three to 36.

Just Listed: A Summit Avenue mansion for $1.845 million

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: June 13, 2014 - 2:02 PM

Krista Wolter and Kathryn Kennedy of Coldwell Banker Burnet just listed this brick Victorian Queen Anne mansion along St. Paul's Summit Avenue. Here's what you need to know:

  • It was featured in the new book, "Great Houses of Summit Avenue."
  • It was the first of its style built on Summit Avenue and is part of St. Paul's National Historic District.
  • It was built in 1881, has more than 6,000 square feet of finished living space, four carved fireplaces, 12-foot ceilings and a renovated carriage house wih an apartment/studio work space above.
  • Original achitectural details include leaded glass windows, wood inlay floors and light fixtures.

Here's a quote from Sheila Moar, who moved to the house with her husband more than 30 years ago from New York City:

"For all these years, this has been our only family home. We have loved this home for our family life, but for all the entertaining we like to do from small groups to holiday parties for over 100 people.... we have thoroughly enjoyed living in this home, raising our children from babies to grown adults now, who are 30 and 27 years old and live out-of-state. We have celebrated many birthdays, had beautiful 12 foot Xmas trees every year, had parties with multiple lst-floor fireplaces going all at once, thrown every kind of party, big and small, for our family and friends. We believe that this house should be shared with as many people as possible, as we have heard over and over again from so many, that this is their “favorite” home on Summit Avenue."

For a slide show and virtual tour of the house, click here.

More student housing heading to Dinkytown

Posted by: Janet Moore Updated: June 10, 2014 - 4:46 PM

More student housing is heading to Dinkytown. A developer has made a proposal to the Minneapolis planning commission's committee of the whole seeking to demolish the Riverton building at 1227 4th St. SE in Minneapolis and replace it with a six-story apartment building with 66 apartments and ground-floor commercial space. The plan requires rezoning of the property and a setback, signage and parking variances.

The site is near the popular Varsity Theater and is next to the Chateau, a student housing high-rise. The project is being pursued by the company that owns the Chateau. The proposal comes in the midst of a student housing boom, with several upscale buildings being proposed and under construction. What's next? The proposal will be reviewed on Thursday. Click here for a peek at how it'll look.

Housing construction in the Twin Cities slid this month

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: May 30, 2014 - 11:22 AM

Housing construction in the Twin Cities this month has failed to keep pace with last year, but after five months builders are on pace to match last year. That's according to a new monthly report from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, which said that there were 421 permits issued for a total of 519 units during four comparable weeks in the month of May, 2014. That was a 7 percent decline in permits and a 33 percent decline in units.

Year-to-date, permits are down by a bit over one percentage point, while total units permitted in 2014 were just 1.2 percent higher than at this point last year. So far this year builders were issued 1,855 permits for a total of 3,332 units.

BATC officials attribute the monthly lull to a tough winter and a decline in apartment construction for the month.

 “The housing recovery has not been able to get momentum yet this year,” said Shawn Nelson, Builders Association of the Twin Cities 2014 president and president of New Spaces. “The incredibly bad winter weather slowed construction, financing is still tight for consumers—particularly first time buyers—and the impact and uncertainty surrounding the Governor’s mounting regulatory proposals, such as the billion-dollar home indoor sprinkler mandate, are providing significant challenges for consumers and builders."

The most active cities for May:

  1. Inver Grove Heights: 72 units (66 units in one multi-family building).
  2. Woodbury: 41 units
  3. Blaine: 40
  4. Maple Grove: 33
  5. Lakeville: 28 units

H&M coming to Burnsville Center

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: May 19, 2014 - 3:21 PM

Fast-fashion retailer H&M (short for Hennes & Mauritz) is opening a new store in Burnsville Center. Look for it this fall. The opening is part of a broader expansion by the Swedish company “in the North,” according to a news release Monday.

The 18,000-square-foot Burnsville store will feature clothing for women, men, young women and young men (or “young ladies and young men,”) kids, and a stores-within-the store for accessories, lingerie, maternity and plus-size. Since opening its first state-side store on Fifth Avenue in New York 14 years ago, H&M has expanded rapidly with some 311 stores nationwide.

Stores locally include Mall of America, Calhoun Square, Southdale, Maplewood, Woodbury Lakes and Ridgedale.

Good real estate reads from the weekend

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: May 19, 2014 - 12:19 PM

Walll Street Journal: A Florida study suggests new energy code can cut costs, but at a price. This is a topic worth noting because Minnesota will soon implement its new energy code.

New York Times: A fireplace ban could be coming to New York City to help clear the air. Literally. The proposal has sparked controversy and concern. Also, check this interesting analysis of the latest U.S. building permit data, which shows that apartment construction rather than single-family housing is dominating the recovery.

Star Tribune: There's high hopes that the new Green Line line rail transit station that will connect downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul will generate millions in new development, including housing. Check out my colleague, James Walsh's Sunday story. 

And in addition to my story about a turnaround in second-home sales across the country, my colleague, Kim Ode, has a thoughtful story about moving up north (Grand Marais, in this case) from two very different perspectives.

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