Principal and managing regional partner of Interstate Partners
From redeveloping former stockyard land to rehabbing historic buildings to developing corporate facilities, real estate developer and investor Greg Miller has pretty much done it all in his 38-year career.
Miller, 61, is principal and managing regional partner of Milwaukee-based Interstate Partners, overseeing the company's Minnesota operations from his downtown St. Paul office. The company was formed in 2000 by Miller and other former executives of Wispark Corp., the land development arm of Wisconsin Energy Corp. Miller has developed five master-planned business parks in the Twin Cities with buildings totaling nearly 1.2 million square feet. Current projects include a new headquarters for Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) at Boulder Lakes Business Park in Eagan and a planned second phase at BridgePoint Business Park, which was a former stockyard in South St. Paul.
QIn addition to MISO, how much space can you develop at Boulder Lakes?
AWe've got another five sites that can accommodate 600,000 square feet.
QWhat about at BridgePoint?
AWe built a 126,000-square-foot industrial building that we finished in May. We had one lead tenant for 30,000 feet and about 95,000 feet of speculative (not pre-leased) space. Since then, we've leased another 66,000 feet, so we're about 75 percent leased. We've got 16 acres for phase two, which we're starting to plan now.
QAre you optimistic about phase two?
AVery. We've had good activity and other prospects for the balance of the space. Depending upon what happens with the economy ... we could start the next phase in spring.
QWill you go spec?
AIt's all a function of what the financing markets will let us do. We tried to build spec in South St. Paul in 2009, 2010, 2011. The banks wouldn't have it, no matter how much equity we put in. But finally things loosened up enough this year to get it done. I think with the success we've had and with our track record, we'll be able to get the next phase done spec.
QWhat's the current financing environment?
AIf you've got a well-leased functional building, there's unbelievable amounts of money available at rates that I have not seen in my almost 40 years; they astound me how low they are. So for the MISO building, we had all kinds of opportunities for financing and still do. ... On the other extreme, if you've got anything that's got any kind of risk associated with it ... then there's hardly any money. And what's available requires huge amounts of equity.
Liz Wolf is an Eagan-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.