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

Twin Cities home builders launch 'Artisan Home Tour'

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 14, 2014 - 4:11 PM

A rendering of a house by Schrader & Companies that will be featured on the Artisan Home Tour

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) is adding a new, ticketed home tour this summer to its stable of Parade of Homes events.

The Artisan Home Tour will feature 25 "artisan-quality homes" during its inaugural run June 7-15, 2014. Here's BATC's description of the qualifications: "All the homes on the tour are built by members of the BATC and the home plans were reviewed by an architectural review panel to ensure architectural integrity and high-quality finish level."

Tickets: Online for $25 or at the door for $30, or $5 for an individual home. Half the net proceeds of ticket sales will be donated to BATC’s charitable arm, the BATC Foundation, which builds and remodels homes for families in need.

For more info: ArtisanHomeTour.org is online now. Guidebooks will also be published and distributed by direct mail to some households and will be included with the Summer issue of Artful Living Magazine. Guidebooks may also be picked up at participating homes.

Lennar Corp. reigns - once again - as Minnesota's biggest home builder

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 27, 2014 - 2:16 PM

For the eighth year in a row, Lennar Corp. was Minnesota's biggest home builder, according to annual survey by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).

The Miami, Florida-based company reported gross revenues of $224 million and built 434 single family and 98 multi-family homes (532 total) during 2013. Lennar outpaced the second-ranked builder, Pulte Homes of Minnesota, by 70 percent.

Bill Burgess, Minnesota Division president, reacts: “At Lennar, our focus is on our homeowners and their families, and I believe that’s the Lennar difference. That’s why our home buyers have enabled us to be the Twin Cities number-one home builder,” he said.

Historically the Twin Cities was a market dominated by home-grown, locally owned companies, but over the past decade that's changed. All of the top five ranked builders last year were national firms with corporate offices located outside of Minnesota. Here are the other top companies by volume:

  • Pulte Homes of Minnesota had $131 million in revenues and built 274 units.
  • D.R. Horton-Minnesota had almost $121 million in revenue and built 289 units.
  • Ryland Homes - Twin Cities Division had $117 million in revenues and built 345 units.
  • Mattamy Homes had $99 million in revenue and built 300 units.

Housing construction in the Twin Cities is on pace to beat last year

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 27, 2014 - 11:28 AM

Home builders in the Twin Cities metro are operating at the same pace as they did last year, but there' beena slight decline in requests to build apartments. That's according to a monthly report released today from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), which shows that during the past four weeks 360 permits were issued to build 482 units.

Compared with last year, that was about the same number of single-family houses, but an eight percent drop in total units because of a decline in permits to build apartments and other kinds of multi-family housing.

Shawn Nelson, Builders Association of the Twin Cities 2014 president and president of New Spaces, said that buyers are being motivated by several factors.

“Prospective buyers are seeing prices rise, inventories decline, and mortgage interest rates moving upward, all creating a sense of urgency for families to make the decision to buy now,” Nelson said. “Reports from builders in our Spring Parade of Homes have been very positive,” said

Year-to-date, there were 1,028 permits issued for a total of 2,011 units. That's a t 1.5 percent increase in permits and a 20-percent increase in planned units.

Moundsview took over the top spot in permit activity for the month in activity, permitting 99 units in one multi-family building. Blaine and Plymouth both came in second with 30 units permitted, followed by Lakeville with 29 and Medina with 20.

Here's a link to the full report.

Two new apartment buildings would bring more density - and controversy - to north end of Lake Calhoun

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 26, 2014 - 12:20 PM
The images at left show the site and 8-story building planned by Greystar next to the Calhoun Beach Club, the images at right show Trammel Crow's six-story building at the Tryg's Restaurant site.

The images at left show the site and 8-story building planned by Greystar next to the Calhoun Beach Club, the images at right show Trammel Crow's six-story building at the Tryg's Restaurant site.

Here's a first look at at a pair of proposals from two different developers that will increase the density of a popular neighborhood on the north end of Lake Calhoun.

Greystar, a North Carolina-based company plans to build a eight-story luxury apartment building next to the Calhoun Beach Club. The 90-unit building will feature large, three-bedroom apartments aimed at attracting families. And Texas-based Trammel Crow is planning a six-story building with about 150 apartments where Tryg's restaurant now stands at 3118 W. Lake Street. That building was originally going to be 11-stories tall.

Both projects are still working their way through the approval process and are smaller than originally proposed in part because of of feedback from the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association, which will review the latest rendition of the the projects at 6 p.m. on April 7 at the Jones Harrison Residence.

Stay tuned for more details.

North Loop neighborhood to get much-needed low-income rental housing

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 18, 2014 - 3:15 PM
The Cameron Transfer and Storage Company Building, most recently the Dial Building (at left), is next to the 710, 720 and 730 Lofts buildings.

The Cameron Transfer and Storage Company Building, most recently the Dial Building (at left), is next to the 710, 720 and 730 Lofts buildings.

The North Loop neighborhood is slated to get some much-needed low-income rental housing. Schafer Richardson , a prolific North Loop developer, received preliminary bond approval today from the city to help finance the transformation of the former Cameron Transfer and Storage company Building at 756 N. 4th St. into 44 units of "affordable" workforce housing. In addition to those bonds, the project will also be financed primarily with historic tax credits. Tod Elkins, Urban Works Architecture, is the architect of record on the project.

The hulking and neglected four-storybuilding is in the heart of the popular North Loop neighborhood and alongside three condo buildings built during the past decade. Most recently known as the Dial Building, the concrete structure was built in 1909/1910 as a cold storage facility. It's been vacant for the past dozen years, but will undergo a top-to-bottom renovation, including a new roof, windows and tuckpointing. The building will have a fitness center, bike storage, outdoor patio/grill area, laundry and surface parking.

The building will be transformed into 44 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments for people who earn 50 to 60 percent of the area median income. Because the latest wave of development in that area has been mostly market rate luxury rentals, there's a serious and growing shortage of inexpensive housing in the area that's affordable to many of the working class people who work service and retail jobs in the shops and restaurants in the area. By the end of last year the average rent in the area was more than $1,400, nearly 10 percent higher than the year before, according to Marquette Advisors.

What's next? The City Planning Commission has already approved the development plans, and at a Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development public hearing this afternoon (3/8/14) preliminary approval was given to the developer's request for up to $7.5 million in tax exempt multi-family housing entitlement revenue bonds. Final approval is pending another meeting in late spring or early summer.

Also, the developer hopes to have the building named to the Naitonal Register of Historic places because of its connection to an internationally known engineer from Minneapolis named Claude Allen Porter - he patented the "mushroom cap" reinforced concrete structural system.That designation will make the building eligible for those historic tax credits, which are aimed at helping subsidize the cost of renovating historically significant buildings.

Here's a side view of the building.

Here's a side view of the building.

Twin Cities apartments: Short supply despite thousands of new units

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 4, 2014 - 10:42 AM
The Brunsfield North Loop apartment building on the edge of downtown Minneapolis was one of several luxury buildings that hit the market during 2013.

The Brunsfield North Loop apartment building on the edge of downtown Minneapolis was one of several luxury buildings that hit the market during 2013.

Despite thousands of new apartments that have come on line in recent years, Twin Cities landlors are still in the driver's seat. A year-end report from Marquette Advisors says the average apartment vacancy rate across the metro held steady at 2.5 percent through the end of 2013 . That was the 11th consecutive quarter of sub‐3.0- percent vacancies in the region. A full 43 out of 54 submarkets surveyed by the group reported vacancy rates of less than 3.0 percent during the 4th quarter even though 3,108 new rental units hit the market in the 2013 compared with 1,428 units during the previous year.

Strong demand and low vacancy rates continue to drive steady rent growth. The average market rent at the end of the year was $981 per month, a 2.5- percent increase from a year ago, though rent gains were even stronger in downtown Minneapolis.

We'll have a full report, including predictions for apartment construction this year, in the Wednesday paper.

- Jim Buchta

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