Minnetonka-based Oppidan Investment Co.said Wednesday it will begin construction on two developments this week in the former Mason Motors Inc. site in downtown Excelsior.
Located at Water and George streets in the western Twin Cities suburb, the development includes a new Kowalski's Market -- the city's first grocery store in 30 years.
Kowalski's plans to renovate and expand the old Mason Motors building into a new 15,000-square-foot store. The store will focus on perishable items and foods to go, and will include a wine shop and a Starbucks coffee shop.
Oppidan, a national property development firm, is also developing a 20,000-square foot retail and office building that will face the new Kowalski’s store. Oppidan is seeking retail tenants to occupy the first level of the building; the company itself will move its offices to the upper level.
Construction of the Kowalski’s store and the new retail/office building is expected finish up by March 1, 2015.
“We are thrilled to be moving forward with development of the Mason Motors site and to fulfill our promise to the city of Excelsior to bring a grocer to its vibrant downtown district,” said Joe Ryan, Oppidan's president said in a statement.
Oppidan purchased the Mason Motors building and adjacent property in 2012. Steele Fitness became the first tenant on the site in early 2013, and was followed by College Nannies + Tutors, SportClips and YogaFit. Thet 8,744-square foot building is now fully occupied.
On Wall Street, U.S. economic growth is being offset by global woes, benefitting home buyers in an unexpected way: Fixed mortgage rates fell to new 2014 lows this week, according to a national survey by HSH.com. The average rate for a conforming 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to HSH.com's Weekly Mortgage Rates Radar, fell by four basis points to 4.15 percent with 0.17 average points. That's nearly a half percentage point lower than at the beginning of the year.
Here's how Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com's vice president, explains the situation: "Solid economic growth in the U.S. firms up mortgage and other interest rates, then concerns about growth, deflation and armed skirmishes around the globe find investors rushing to the safety and stability of Treasuries. As that money comes in, bond prices rise and yields fall, pulling mortgage rates down along with them...troubles around the world continue to be a mortgage shopper's best friend."
The average conforming 5/1 Hybrid ARM rates remained unchanged for a third-straight week at an average of 3.14 percent.
Home buyers in the Twin Cities outdid themselves last week. During the week ending August 23, there was 4.5 percent increase in pending home sales in the metro. Pending sales, an indication of future closings, have been down for much of the year because as investors exit the market and traditional buyers replace them. This was the first increase since July 5, but unlikely the beginning of a trend. Home sales this year are expected to fall short of 2013. Here's a link to the complete weekly report.
U.S. house prices, including distressed sales, are expected to increase 5.7 percent from July 2014 to July 2015, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Index.
The report also shows that house prices in the Twin Cities increased slightly slower than the national average during July, the rising 6.2 percent higher from last year and 1.5 percent higher than the previous month. Nationwide, annual prices were up 7.4 percent, the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.
We'll have the lastest local numbers on August 12 when the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors releases its monthly sales report, which I expect will show another decline in sales, and a moderate increased in home prices. Here some highlights from the CoreLogic report:
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:
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.