Principal at Suntide Commercial Realty Inc.
Redevelopment is ramping up along the new 11-mile, light-rail Green Line, which will begin service in mid-2014 and link the St. Paul and Minneapolis downtowns. According to the Metropolitan Council, 100 construction projects totaling more than $1.7 billion in private investment have been completed or are underway along the line.
Denise Currie, principal of St. Paul-based Suntide Commercial Realty Inc., is well aware of the opportunity that light rail will bring to the area, including the Midway and along University Avenue. She has worked in the Midway for 25 years, and her company owns and leases office buildings there, including the Court International Building at University Avenue and Hwy. 280. (Suntide owns the 350,000-square-foot building in a partnership and has its headquarters there.)
Now Suntide is renovating a 100-year-old, 40,000-square-foot office building at 1000 W. University Av. in St. Paul — one block east of the Lexington Parkway light-rail station. Suntide executives purchased the building for $1.2 million from University National Bank and are investing $3 million in renovations. They will begin marketing space to companies in November. Suntide also owns a 10-acre redevelopment parcel just south of Court International.
“We really believe in the Midway,” Currie says. “It’s been good for us.”
Currie and her husband Leonard founded Suntide in 1988. They moved here from Regina, Saskatchewan. They also own a commercial real estate firm in Regina, the province’s capital city.
Q: What attracted you to the 1000 University Avenue building?
A: It has what very few properties along University Avenue have — it’s a full block deep and has tons of parking. It also has nice high ceilings and good brick-and-timber bones.
Q: What does the renovation entail?
A: We totally gutted the building. We installed new windows, new wiring, new insulation, heating and cooling, and a new roof and we put in underground parking. It’s going to be like a brand-new building. We’re excited about it.
Q: It sounds like a major overhaul.
A: They always say you should never do these deals because they’re so much more work than building a new building, and they really are. But on the other hand, you’re not contributing to the landfill, which is a big deal these days.