Housing construction (not including apartments) during the third quarter was up nearly 33 percent over last year in the Twin Cities metro, boosting options for new-home buyers and putting a drain on choices for those looking for a buildable lot, according to a new third-quarter report from the local office of Metrostudy. Here's a summary of that report:
Here's a prediction from Ryan Jones, director of Metrostudy’s Twin Cities market: "We will likely end 2013 up right around 6,000 new home starts, 30 percent higher than 2012 and twice the amount from 2011,” he said.
Housing construction in the Twin Cities was down slightly this month because of a modest decline in apartment construction, which concealed a slight increase in construction of single-family houses.
During October, 487 permits were issued to build 1,029 units in the 13-county metro area, according to data compiled by the Keystone Report for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). That was a 19-percent increase in permits, but a 22-percent decline in the number of planned units.
Single-family homes accounted for 538 of the planned units for the month, an almost 40 percent increase over last year.
So far this year, builders were issued 4,502 permits to build 8,618 units, besting last year's unit count by 25 percent.
Minneapolis, Plymouth and Ramsey were far and away the busiest cities for housing construction during the month, accounting for half of all planned units.
Apartment construction has been robust, and has led the recovery for the construction industry. But it tends to be a volatile sector of the industry because a permit for single building can add hundreds of units to that month's total. This is also a time of year when construction activity tends to slow.
Dominium, a Twin Cities-based apartment development and management company said this morning that it now owns the historic Pillsbury A Mill building in Minneapolis and is proceeding with its plans to convert the building into 251 units of affordable housing for artists.
The $150 million project, which is along the banks of the Mississippi River, has been several years in the making and is a complicated deal that involves several organizations. Partners in the project include U.S. Bank, which is providing $118 million in financing, and Affordable Housing Partners Inc. (a Berkshire Hathaway Company), which is committing nearly $75 million in equity to secure their investment in the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Federal Historic Tax Credits. The building is one of 21 buildings in Minnesota that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dominium is getting permanent financing of nearly $26 million from Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, and will get some financial support from the city, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Met Council and others.
Environmental remediation work is underway, and occupancy is expected to happen in late 2015.
Chicago-based Joshua Taylor, VP of Marketing for Magellan Development, was in town recently to check out the progress of the company's first Twin Cities project, a 354-unit apartment building that's going to add an interesting punch to the downtown Minneapolis skyline.
Here' the latest scoop:
Anyone who lives or drives through the Highland Park neigborhood in St. Paul has likely seen the sad, but spectacular, ruins of Ford's former Twin Cities Assembly plant, an economic engine until its closing in late 2011. The oldest part of the plant, which dates back to 1925, have yet to be demolished.
Now, a group called the Save Our Ford Heritage Committee, which consists of retired autoworkers, local history supporters, United Auto Workers officials, car collectors, and others, will hold an open house featuring Ford memorabilia from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.
The event will be held at the Hillcrest Recreation Center, 1978 Ford Parkway in St. Paul. The event is free and open to the public.
The group hopes to preserve the history of the plant by displaying artifacts and memorabilia including workers' badges, samples of glass that was manufactured on site, historic photographs, postcards and drawings.Several historic Ford books and postcards will be given away as door prizes for those who attend the event.
The group is also hoping to display historic Ford vehicles at the open house (outside, of course).
According to a news release, the purpose of the event "is to draw attention to the fact that we are in the final hours before the demolition of the historic buildings is completed, and that as of yet, there is no plan for preserving any part of the historic structure.
"It is hoped that this event will generate broader interest leading to the creation of a more-formal committee structure to work for a preservation solution," the group noted. (The city hopes the site will be redeveloped into a mixed-use development.)
The group is, at the very least, pressing to create a permanent display on site to note the plant's formidable history. "Ideally, this would be set up in a portion of the original, historic building, or perhaps in a new location on the site."
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.
The U.S. Commerce Department released figures this morning showing that home builders across the country sought more permits during August than in any single month in five years, and that starts were up 0.9 percent on an annualized basis. (Here's a link to a complete story at www.startribune.com).
That national report doesn't include local data, but if you're wondering how builders are doing in the Twin Cities metro, follow this link to a story that I wrote at the end of August, which shows that while apartments represented more than half of all planned units in the Twin Cities for that month, requests for permits to build single-family houses during the first 8 months of the year were up 31 percent compared with the same period the year before.
- Jim Buchta, residential real estate reporter