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First downtown Minneapolis HCMC community clinic will land in the North Loop

Where John Deere tractors were once assembled, residents of the North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis will now be able to get strep tests and refill their prescriptions. Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC)  will open its first downtown Minneapolis community clinic and pharmacy in the Tractorworks Building at 800 Washington Avenue North in a nearly 8,000 square-foot first-floor space next to the Bar LaGasa and B'Wiched restaurants. 

 “North Loop is the fastest growing residential neighborhood in Minneapolis and the people who live there have been asking for a local clinic and pharmacy to serve their health care needs,” said Jon Pryor, HCMC's CEO. “This new clinic will do that, and serve a broader need for several sought-after specialties for people who live and work in the area.”

In an interview, Scott Wordelman, HCMC's senior vice president of ambulatory care and support services, said that this will be HCMC's eighth community clinic. It will be a full-service clinic that will offer primary care services in addition to several rotating specialties including acupuncture, chiropractic and sports medicine. He said that when the group was evaluating its options for a downtown location, the North Loop was an obvious choice. 

"We’re all aware of the dynamics of that particular neighborhood and all of its recent growth so it was clear to us that there were unmet needs in the immediate area," Wordelman said. 

HCMC has been particularly active as of late. The health provider recently announced the move and expansion of the Richfield Clinic. And in downtown Minneapolis, HCMC operates an employer clinic and multiple primary care and specialty clinics on its main medical center campus where construction is underway on a new 377,000 square foot ambulatory clinic and surgery center that will open in early 2018.

“Between the new North Loop Clinic and our main campus we are able to meet every health care need of downtown residents, workers, and visitors,” said Wordelman. “People can stay in one system to get the full continuum of care, and it’s all located close to where they live or work.”

In the commercial real estate world, the Tractorworks building has been lucrative for investors. In 2014, New York-based Goldman Sachs paid more than $55 million for the 350,000 square-foot brick and timber building - that was more than double what the San Francisco-based investor who sold it to them paid for it in 2008.

Case-Shiller: Twin Cities house prices rising slowly, steadily

Limited supplies and strong demand continue boosting house prices in the Twin Cities metro, but the gains here have been only slightly less robust than elsewhere in the nation. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows a 4.5 percent gain in the Twin Cities compared with 5.3 year-over-gain nationwide by the end of February. Twin Cities buyers should be glad they're not on the West Coast where the biggest increases are being reported. In Portland, Oregon, for example, the index increased a stunning 11.9 percent followed by Seattle (11.0 percent) and Denver (9.7 percent)

Both the local and national gains had moderated a bit, compared to the most recent report, in part because of a shortage of entry-level houses and a rising supply of upper-bracket houses. Bigger increases in sales of starter houses are being tempered by more moderate increases in more expensive ones.

The Case-Shiller report is an oft-watched and slightly unusual measure of what's happening in the market because it compares resales of the same property to track values during a three-month period. Others, including the monthly sales report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, tracks the median sales price of all closings during a particular month. According to that measure, prices are rising at a much stronger pace.

In her latest analysis of the market, Zillow's chief economist, Svenja Gudell, said that today’s Case-Shiller report should be assuring to those who are worried that they'll be priced out of the market. She said that price gains are rising at a more moderate and "largely sustainable clip," but notes a potentially troubling trend: A growing disparity between first-time and move-up buyer.  

“Inventory of entry-level and middle-tier homes is down sharply, and home prices in those segments are rising more quickly as demand stays strong and the economy keeps chugging along. At the same time, inventory at the top of the market is more available, and prices are growing far more slowly. Heading into spring, buyers looking for the most expensive homes will find somewhat softening prices, a larger selection of homes to choose from and more limited competition. Entry-level and mid-market buyers – typically the housing market’s bread and butter – are likely to face stiff competition, rapidly rising prices and very limited inventory. The patience of many buyers will be tested in coming months.”