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.

Mortenson sells Hampton Inn & Suites, first newly constructed hotel downtown Minneapolis since recession

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter under Buying Updated: April 14, 2015 - 11:24 AM

M.A. Mortenson has sold the new Hampton Inn & Suites, the first hotel built in downtown Minneapolis since the recession, for $39 million.

The Golden Valley-based construction and development firm announced the sale one day after the new 211-room hotel opened for guests. The buyer is Texas-based Summit Hotel Properties, a publicly-traded REIT with 91 lodging properties in 21 states.

The Hampton Inn & Suites is the first of this brand in Minneapolis. Located in the heart of the city's entertainment district at the corner of 1st Avenue and 8th Street, the nine-story building is one block from 1st Avenue & 7th Street Entry entertainment venue and skyway-connected to the parking garages next to Target Center. It is two blocks from the popular Loews Minneapolis Hotel.

“The new Hampton Inn & Suites represents the first ground-up hotel to open downtown Minneapolis since 2009 and will contribute to the continued renaissance within the City’s urban core,” said Nate Gundrum, development executive at Mortenson, in a statement. “We are excited to bring this property to the market and look forward to completing several other real estate development projects in the area.”

Mortenson announced in November its plans for developing and building an AC Hotels by Marriott at 401 Hennepin Av. S. across 4th Street from the Minneapolis Central Library. That is also a nine-story hotel with 244 rooms and is estimated to cost $48 million to build.

Hampton Inn & Suites in Minneapolis

Kimberly Ihle named president of BOMA, an influential commercial real estate group

Posted by: Kristen Leigh Painter Updated: April 13, 2015 - 5:31 PM

One of the most recognized commercial real estate interest groups in Minneapolis has named its new Board of Directors.

Kim Ihle

Kim Ihle

Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Minneapolis announced Kimberly Ihle as its president for 2015-2016 on Monday. Ihle, general manager for CBRE, most recently served as vice president of BOMA.

Michael Hagen, property manager of The 614 Company, will move to vice president from his previous position as Secretary/Treasurer, while Amy Wimmer will fill the position he is vacating.

BOMA is a national organization with about 100 affiliate locations throughout North America. The Greater Minneapolis organization is the sixth largest in the United States and wields its influence to affect tax issues and legislative or regulatory decisions that impact commercial real estate. 

The officers are elected for one-year positions. Several others were elected to the board for varied term lengths, BOMA announced.

Greg Wohlforth of ABM Onsite Services was elected as a service provider member for two years while Kelly Lentz of Zeller Realty Group and Nathan Reed of Shorenstein Realty Service were named to three-year terms.

Several board members will continue in their director roles, including Ted Campbell, Kevin Connolly, Lynette Dumalag, Brett Greenfield, Cindy MacDonald, Patrick McQuiston, Andy Sundgaard and David Wright (the outgoing president).

Developer scraps plans for boutique North Loop Minneapolis condo project

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture, Buying Updated: April 13, 2015 - 4:21 PM

Almost four months after getting final city approval, the developers of a proposed boutique condo project in the heart of the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis have pulled the plug on 602 North First, a 30-unit project two blocks from the Mississippi River.

"We just don't see sufficient demand for this type of high-quality construction," said Curt Gunsbury, owner of Solhem Companies.

Gunsbury and business partner, Robb Miller of TE Miller Development, planned to develop an 8-story glass-and-concrete building that would take the place of two low-rise buildings that were to be demolished. The units would have ranged in size from 1,700 to more than 3,000 square-feet and were priced from the $700,000 to about $3.3 million.

The decision comes at a time when the market is awash in rental apartments, but has scant condo construction and very low little inventory of existing for-sale units. Last year Jim Stanton of Shamrock Development quickly sold nearly every unit at StoneBridge Lofts in the Mill District and in late March started building Portland Tower, a 17-story high-rise at the corner of 9th Street and Portland Avenue near the new Vikings Stadium where the bulk of the units will range from $300,000 to $800,000. Stanton also recently purchased a Mill District site where he plans to build upwards of 400 condo units.

Last month the developer of another proposed upscale condo project in the Linden Hills neighborhoods pulled the plug on the 19-unit project citing the exit of a key investor even though eight of the 19 units had buyers.

At the end of January, there were fewer than 150 properties on the market, including only 10 new units, compared with more than 600 at the peak of the market in late 2007, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Just Listed: Lake Minnetonka house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protege

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture Updated: April 13, 2015 - 11:39 AM



At Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio near Spring Green, Wis., an eager band of draftsmen once gathered to work alongside the much-revered architect. One of those apprentices, known then as “the pencil in Wright’s hand,” was a young architect named John Howe. Howe, an original member of the Taliesin Fellowship Associated Architects, later built a cottage across a wide valley from Taliesin. As the story goes, one day in the late 1950s, a young couple from the Twin Cities saw a picture of that cottage and wrote to Howe, asking him to design a house for them and their two young boys on a wooded hillside overlooking Lake Minnetonka in Orono. Howe delivered with a sprawling, 3,620-square-foot Prairie-style house, known as Wintertree, that’s now on the market for $2.295 million. Click here to read a story that was published in the Sunday paper, including excerpts from a letter Howe wrote to his clients.





Forlorn 280,000-pound Twin Cities skyway finds a new home as a home in Brainerd

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Architecture Updated: April 10, 2015 - 4:56 PM

It's the ultimate recycling project. A 280,000 pound skyway that once connected two downtown Minneapolis buildings is being saved from the scrap pile. The 84-foot steel and glass structure will be transformed by a team of artists from Vancouver into an interactive art installation in Minneapolis, then head north later this summer where it will become a lakeside home for a young family in Brainerd.

"We are thrilled," said Ben Awes, an architect with CityDesk Studios. He and Bob Ganser acquired the skyway nine years ago and have been searching ever since for a new home for the structure, which is in the process of being prepped for the summer art installation.

After a story in the Star Tribune about the duo's efforts to save the skyway, Awes and Ganser received more than 100 proposals ranging from a nightclub on wheels to a “sweet-ass mobile deer stand, complete with repurposed tank track wheels and a gun turret."

Aimee and Preston Jobe say they've already hired CityDesk to design the project, which will include a to-be-built wing that will connect to the skyway. That L-shaped structure will be the family's full-time home.

"It's like a dream come true," said Aimee Jobe, a photographer who also owns and runs an event center in a reclaimed brick and timber building in a Brainerd rail yard. "I'm a lover of old things and I live to renovate things."

Click here for more information about the Dream the Combine site installation that will be held inside the skyway in Minneapolis from April 18th until early May when the skyway begins its trek north.

To prepare the skyway for the installation and move, crews are busy removing an old concrete floor and ductwork.

To prepare the skyway for the installation and move, crews are busy removing an old concrete floor and ductwork.

In early May, after the close of the show, the skyway will be moved to Brainerd Minnesota to become the home of Aimee and Preston Jobe, who are showing consulting with architects Bob Ganser and Ben Awes.

In early May, after the close of the show, the skyway will be moved to Brainerd Minnesota to become the home of Aimee and Preston Jobe, who are shown consulting with architects Bob Ganser and Ben Awes.

Strongest March in a decade for the Twin Cities housing market

Posted by: Jim Buchta under Buying Updated: April 10, 2015 - 11:17 AM

There was a bit of March madness in the Twin Cities housing market last month. Propelled by more options and near-historic mortgage rates, buyers signed 5,301 purchase agreements last month, a 30.0 percent increase over last and the most in a decade, according to a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. We're working on a full report, but here's a quick look at key measures.

  • Closings: 3,907, a 21.0 percent increase over last year.
  • Median sales price: $210,000, a 10.5 percent increase over last year and the strongest gain in more than a year.
  • Average market time:  102 days, a 7.4 percent increase over last year.
  • New listings: 7,887, a 21.4 percent increase over last year.


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