After months of discouraging signals, a flurry of monthly reports released this morning offer some positive news for the housing market. Here's a summary:
Ryan Companies US Inc. said Monday that it has promoted Tony Barranco to vice president of Development, Office and Mixed-Use in the NorthCentral Region.
Barranco will be filling the position previously held by Rick Collins for the past 15 years. Collins was promoted to president of Ryan’s SouthWest Region earlier this year.
Barranco will assume the role of Project Development Executive for Ryan’s $400 million Downtown East project, an ambitious mixed-use development near the $1 billion Vikings stadium.
He will also lead a variety of corporate office and urban mixed-use developments in the Twin Cities and throughout Ryan’s North-Central region.
Barranco will concentrate on corporate office opportunities, while Casey Hankinson, vice president of Development for Ryan’s NorthCentral region, will concentrate on industrial build-to-suit projects.
Said Hankinson: "Both the office and industrial build-to-suit markets are heating up in the Twin Cities and I see this as the prime time for us to execute market leading development projects that support our customers business growth plans.”
Collin Barr, president of Ryan's NorthCentral region, said Barranco "has established himself as a rock-solid developer who very creatively crafts unique development solutions for complicated projects."
Barranco joined Ryan in 2005, spearheading projects such as 222 Hennepin, a downtown Minneapolis mixed-use redevelopment with 286 luxury apartments and a Whole Foods market; the apartment portion within Ryan’s Downtown East project, and The Vintage, a 210-unit apartment complex anchored by a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods market located in St. Paul.
Just months after taking a top position at Minneapolis CSM Corp., Twin Cities real estate veteran Andy Deckas has left the firm.
Last August, CSM announced that Deckas would take over as CSM's president of Commercial Properties and executive vice president. But he apparently left the company earlier this month. Deckas did not return a phone call Monday.
A CSM spokeswoman, Greta Andzenge, said the departure was a "mutual parting of our ways."
Deckas came to CSM with 25 years of industry experience, most recently as president of Opus/Founders Properties, where he was responsible for the acquisition and management of more than $3 billion in assets.
Prior to that, he was employed at Heitman, one of the nation's largest real estate advisors.
Deckas was interviewed by the Star Tribune shortly after assuming the new position.
When asked at the time why he took the position, he said, " It certainly was nothing negative about Opus or Founders; this was just an opportunity. You’ve got a privately held company. You’ve got the founder and head of the firm who’s at an age where he’s looking at not only continuing to grow the business that he created and built, but also be able to transition leadership to build for the future."
Lori Larson, who joined CSM at the same time as senior managing director of Capital Markets, has left the firm, as well. Prior to CSM, Larson was president of Keystone Advisors LLC, and she also worked at CBRE, Opus and Richard Ellis.
Long-awaited good news for the housing recovery: After several months of declines, existing home sales across the country rose 4.9 percent from April to May - a stronger-than-consensus gain, according to a monthly report from the National Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo Securities. Sales were down five percent compared with last year.
That national report, which is seasonally adjusted, doesn't include local data, but earlier this month we reported that home sales (not seasonally adjusted) in the Twin Cities increased nearly 26 percent from April to May, though May sales were11 percent lower than last year.
Trends of note:
We'll have the latest local data on July 14 when we report the June homes sales for the Twin Cities metro.
Minneapolis City Council is set to decide June 27 whether to accept Mortenson Construction to lead the $97 million renovation of Target Center, home to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.
Last month, a Design Committee recommended the Golden Valley-based firm, which built Target Center some 25 years ago. Mortenson is currently overseeing construction of the new $1 billion Vikings stadium, and led efforts to build Target Field.
Last month, City Council members voted to select Architectural Alliance and Sink Combs Dethlefs lead the design process.
A large portion of the renovation dollars for the city-owned Target Center will go toward "enhancing the visitor experience" for all events, including basketball games, concerts and family shows, according to a city news release last month. This includes improving the flow of entering and exiting the building as well as moving around inside Target Center. Other amenities will include a new scoreboard, new seats and additional gathering spaces throughout the arena.
The $97 million project will be split between the city, which is coughing up $48.5 million, the team, $43 million and operator AEG, $5.5 million. The city is also responsible for $50 million in ongoing capital improvements.
The public component of the project will be funded through sales taxes that are currently paying down debt on the convention center and are committed to the Vikings stadium. They are a 0.5 percent citywide sales tax, a 2.625 percent hotel tax and 3 percent downtown liquor and restaurant taxes.
There's a website for the project here.
The former machine shop at 300 2nd St. SE sits on the sidelines while construction surges ahead on the Pillsbury A-Mill lofts in the St. Anthony Main area of Minneapolis.
But a Twin Cities developer Schafer Richardson has big plans for the 98-year-old building, which was originally part of the Pillsbury milling complex.
An entity related to the firm called Machine Shop LLC bought the building for $727,500, according to a certificate of real estate value filed earlier this week. The plan is to turn the building into 26,000-square-feet of office and/or retail space.
According to Schafer Richardson, the now-vacant building was originally used to fabricate milling machines and equipment from 1916 to about 1930, and then as automobile storage until the 1990s.
The property has been vacant for the past 10 years, and it shows its age. But industrial elements, such as high ceilings and windows, an open central gallery and mezzanine, steel columns and beams, and historic bridge cranes remain intact.
The project, which should begin this summer, is expected to be complete in the spring of 2015.
Schafer Richardson was going to redevelop the entire high-profile spot, including the A-Mill, into 1,000 condos and 100,000 squre feet of commercial space. But the $500 million project never got off the ground before financing dried up as the Great Recession took hold. Then Bismarck, N.D.-based BNC National Bank bought back the 8-acre site in a sheriff's sale for $12 million.
Currently, another Twin Cities developer Dominium, is leading a $156 million conversion of the A Mill complex into 251 artists lofts.