Here are a few interesting tidbits from your blogger’s email bag.
An index compiled by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business (got all that?) found that home sales were brisk this summer in the 13-county metro area. In fact, the median price of a “non-distressed” home in the area increased by nearly $6,000.
(“Non-distressed” is defined as a sale that doesn’t involved a foreclosure or short sale, and where a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage.)
The median price of a non-distressed home in the metro area was $214,000 in June, $217,000 in July, and $219,000 in August. The August price increased 8.2 percent when compared with the same period last year.
Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the university, said “this is the most-significent increase that has been observed in the last six years, with the exception of the period between April 2009 and September 2010 when the market was artificially stimulated by the Federal Homebuyers Tax Credit.”
Tousley stopped short of calling it an all-out recovery in the long-suffering sector. Several more months of data would be needed to make that claim, he noted.
But, “the increased number of homes available for sale, combined with historically very low interest rates, should lead to a continued recover in the first half of 2013,” Tousely said.
Minneapolis-based Oppidan Investment Co. has made a real imprint locally developing Goodwill thrift stores.
The national firm has begun construction of a new 20,600-square-foot store in Maple Grove on a two-acre parcel of land near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Weaver Lake Road. This is the fifth Goodwill store that Oppidan has developed in the past three years — others include Champlin, Forest Lake, Minnetonka and Woodbury.
According to Joe Ryan, president of Oppidan, construction of the new Goodwill store will wrap up in January. Goodwill, which will lease the building, hasn’t nailed down an opening date just yet.
The Copham, a $25 million apartment renovation in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood, opened this month with a nearly 100 percent occupancy rate — no surprise to anyone who has been following the city’s apartment boom downtown.
According to the project’s Minneapolis-based developer, Greco Development, 113 of the 120 luxury apartments in the seven-story structure at 607 Washington Ave. N. have been leased. Rents are between $1,125 and $1,950 a month for units that range in size from 650 square feet to 1,200 square feet.
Originally constructed in 1926 as the Holden Building, the structure has a brick exterior facade and interior walls, ceilings that range in height from 11 feet to 14 feet, “mushroom style” concrete columns and new windows and finishes. An attached one-story annex will house the new Smack Shack restaurant, which should open this November.
Architectural firm BKV Group, which has a Minneapolis office, and builder Frana Cos., of Hopkins, worked on the project. Financing for the project was provided through a construction loan from PNC Capital Bank, with bridge financing coming from Dougherty Funding.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.