Inside view: Mark Moorhouse

  • Updated: September 6, 2012 - 6:41 PM

Mark Moorhouse

Mark Moorhouse

Senior vice president of development and project partner for Dominium

In the 16 years that Mark Moorhouse has been at Plymouth-based Dominium, a growing powerhouse in apartment development and management, he helped the company grow from 6,400 units owned and/or managed to 23,000 units in 21 states. This year already, Dominium added 28 assets to its portfolio in markets like Arizona, Florida and Texas. Nearly 80 percent of Dominium's portfolio has an affordable housing component.

Moorhouse, 40, is experienced in working with federal, state and local housing programs. He's responsible for day-to-day operations of the development department; high-profile projects include historic renovations of the Buzza building and Pillsbury A Mill in Minneapolis and the Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul.

Dominium is also identifying assets it believes have reached their useful life cycle and is selling them. The equity is being redeployed into acquisitions and development in target markets. This summer, Dominium sold the 167-unit Newport on Seven in St. Louis Park for $22.725 million.

QIs Dominium continuing to expand into new markets?

AWhen I started, they were pretty geographically focused on the Upper Midwest; now we're looking to acquire and develop in our existing footprint but also find new markets to break into.

QHave you acquired distressed assets?

AYes. Almost 70 percent of our growth in the last five years is related to distressed assets ... taking over failed developments or projects that banks, investors or customers have taken back.

QYou have historic renovations underway, including the $34.5 million Buzza Lofts in Uptown.

AWe're finishing renovations on the Buzza building, which was a greeting card company way back when. It's a renovation into affordable workforce housing and should be done Nov. 1.

QYou're also working on plans for a $115 million renovation of the Schmidt Brewery into lower-rent housing for artists.

AMy claim to fame is my daughter just turned 5, and we started working on the project about a year before she was born. ... Things are coming together; we're expecting to close prior to Oct. 15 and are excited to be this close to closing.

QThe Pillsbury A Mill is considered one of "America's 11 most endangered historic places." Are you ready to rescue it?

AYes. We expect to close later this year. It'll be a $115 million renovation into affordable artist lofts. It's just as complex, if not more complex than the Schmidt project. You have these buildings that were designed for brewing beer or milling flour and the whole conversion into housing is a very complicated and long, but rewarding process.

Liz Wolf is an Eagan-based freelance writer. She can be reached at wolfliz@aol.com.

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