After 21 years managing the IDS Center, a Twin Cities landmark, Jim Durda is joining Zeller Realty Group as Executive Vice President of the Minneapolis office.
Durda is well-known in the local commercial real estate community with more than 30 years experience. He most recently served as vice president, asset manager and general manager at Accesso, a Florida-based real estate firm that owns IDS -- the sixth owner under Durda's watch.
He will oversee the Twin Cities portfolio of Chicago-based Zeller, which includes a number of downtown and suburban office buildings, like the recently sold Fifth Street Towers and LaSalle Plaza in Minneapolis' central business district, as well as Wells Fargo Plaza in Bloomington, Edina Corporate Center and Wells Fargo Place downtown St. Paul.
“Jim is very well respected in the industry and we are confident his experience and expertise will benefit our clients as well as our team,” said Paul M. Zeller, Managing Principal and CEO of Zeller Realty Group, in a prepared statement. “Jim’s understanding of the market, depth of relationships, as well as his focus on providing first class service to tenants makes him an excellent addition to our organization.”
Durda has been a Minneapolis Downtown Council board member for nine years, and served as president of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in 2008, has been a member of the commercial real estate development association, NAIOP, since 1984.
“It is an exciting time in the commercial real estate industry in Minneapolis and I am looking forward to joining the Zeller team to enhance our current offerings and also grow our portfolio,” Durda said, in a prepared statement.
Before his post at IDS, Durda worked for United Properties, Woodbridge Properties and the Xerox Crop.
Here's another little something homebuyers should consider when considering the location, loction, location of their dream home. A pair of housing experts from Zillow.com said recently there's a correlation between your proximity to a Starbucks and your home value, and that your house is worth more if you're closer to Starbucks than to a Dunkin' Donuts shop.
In an excerpt from "Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate," Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and chief economist, Stan Humphries, say that a house that's within a quarter mile of a Starbucks would have sold, on average, for $137,000. A home that is not near a Starbucks would have sold, on average, for $102,000. Fast-forward 17 years to 2014. That average American home has now appreciated 65 percent, to $168,000. But the Starbucks-adjacent property has far outpaced that, appreciating 96 percent to $269,000 and slightly more than houses located near a Dunkin' Donuts shop.
What gives? Will buyers pay more for proximity to a double chocolaty chip crème Frappuccino blended crème, or is it simply a sign that residents can afford to blow $4.95 on their morning pick-me up? Rascoff and Humphries attribute some of the increase to the tendency of Starbucks to locate their stores in upscale neighborhoods.
"Whatever the reasons—because they genuinely like drinking coffee, or because they see Starbucks as a proxy for gentrification—it seems pretty clear that people are paying a premium for homes near Starbucks," the authous said. "And furthermore, it looks like Starbucks itself is driving the increase in home values."
After a rip-roaring January last year, housing construction in the Twin Cities metro this month is off to a slow start. Throughout the Twin Cities metro builders were issued 308 permits to build 529 units during four comparable weeks in the month of January 2015, according to a monthly report from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. That was a 13-percent decline in permits, but a 50-percent decrease in number of units, mainly because there were fewer apartment buildings on the drawing board. (A single permit can be issue to build more than one unit). During January 2014 more than 1,000 units - mostly apartments - were permitted.
While apartment construction is expected to slow slightly compared with last year, most forecasts call for a modest increase in new home sales during 2015. So far that's not been the case. Permits to build single-family houses were down 16 percent this month.
“After a tough 2014 for single-family construction, we had hoped to see a much stronger start to this year,” said Chris Contreras, 2015 president of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. “We are still hopeful that we’ll see the numbers pick up."
Apple Valley issued the most permitted units (111) followed by Rosemount (97), Plymouth and Lakeville, which were tied for third with 32 units each.
Several trophy properties in the Twin Cities have recently traded hands, helping jump-start the upper-bracket market. Bruce Birkeland of Coldwell Banker Burnet, for example, said that he's put together more than a half dozen deals so far this month, including a nearly $5 million property in St. Louis Park, making it one of his best months ever and an unusually busy January.
One of the latest big deals happened on Jan. 21, when Cynthia Froid of Keller Williams closed a deal on what is nearly an all-time price-per-square-foot record for a downtown condo. She sold a 4,362 square-foot riverfront condo (Unit W31) in the Washburn Lofts building for $4.235 million, or nearly $1,000 per square foot. That was not the highest price per square-foot for a downtown condo. That record was set last year when Froid sold unit No. 601 in the adjacent Stone Arch Lofts building for $2.995 million, or more than $1,000 per square foot. Both of those units sold before hitting the market. The 10-story Washburn Lofts building is at 700 S. 2nd St. in the Mill District and was originally the Washburn Crosby Co. building, which was built in 1914. The building now has 22 condos. And just across the river, Ben Ganje of Lakes Sotheby's, sold a nearly 6,000 square-foot condo on the top floor of Phoenix on the River for $2.2 million late last year. That unit was completely unfinished and was originally intended to be connected to an even larger condo owned by the late Horst Rechelbacher. That nearly 12,000 square-foot unit is still on the market for $8 million.
With developers focusing on building rental apartments in Minneapolis, downtown condos are in short supply. Using data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Reators, here's a chart that shows the limited availability of properties in the Central MLS district, which includes downtown and is mostly condominiums, to the broader market in Minneapolis.
Home prices in the Twin Cities and beyond continue to rise, but at a much slower pace. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index showed home prices during November fell 0.1 percent from the previous month, but rose 4.7 percent compared with last year.
Prices in the Twin Cities metro fell 0.7 percent from October to November, but were up just 1.5 percent from November 2013 to November 2014.
This natonal report paints a more dour picture of house prices than the local report, which has shown annual median prices increases of 5 to 8 percent depending on the month. The discrepancy is all about statistics. Case-Shiller is an indexed, three-month average that compares repeat sales of the same house. The local report is a median based on all sales that happened during the month.
There was better news today about new home sales. A national report showed that new home sales in December rose to the highest level in more than six years, increasing nearly 12 percent from November to December. Here's a link to that report from the U.S. Census Bureau.