Hot property: Covington at Norman Pointe

  • Updated: January 19, 2009 - 2:17 PM
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Covington at Norman Pointe A luxury apartment development. The graphic is from City of Bloomington records.

Where: 5701 Green Valley Drive, Bloomington

Type: Multifamily rentals

Units: 250

Developer: Dunbar Development Corp., Golden Valley

Architect: UrbanWorks Architecture

Timeline: Spring construction

Details: For years, Bloomington's Interstate 494 corridor has been a prime location for Class A office space. But in another sign of just how deep and long the economic downturn may be for business tenants, Duke Realty Corp. is selling to a luxury apartment developer a premier I-494 parcel that was long planned for offices.

Veteran apartment builder Frank Dunbar has won city approval for a 250-unit luxury apartment complex on what was the planned site of the fourth tower of Duke's Normandale Pointe Office Park. Golden Valley-based Dunbar Development Corp. is teaming with UrbanWorks Architecture on the effort, which is meant to provide a transition between the office towers on American Boulevard and the townhouses and other residential areas to the south.

"I guess we were not necessarily surprised because of the downturn in the economy," said Julie Farnham, a Bloomington city planner. "Everybody's looking at how they can download some property. And if there were going to be a property that could be switched over to residential, that would be it."

Farham said Dunbar has done a good job of working with the city on the project and in dealing with environmental concerns of the site, which includes a stretch of Nine Mile Creek. The complex will boast a five-story building, a 293-stall parking ramp and 120 surface parking spaces. The building will have 148 one-bedroom and 102 two-bedroom units.

City documents indicate that the apartment building will have an enclosed courtyard that will be built as a green roof over the parking ramp. It also will have an outdoor courtyard with a patio and a swimming pool.

For Duke, the decision to scrap the fourth Norman Pointe tower came about a year ago. "We concluded that, just looking at our office inventory in the Twin Cities, we had a lot of Class A office space," said Pat Mascia, senior vice president for Duke's Twin Cities operations. He declined to confirm details of the deal with Dunbar, except to say that Duke won't be involved in the apartment project. He said that the property had been listed with CB Richard Ellis for a year, with one restriction: "We didn't want to sell it to somebody who would compete with us."

Dunbar, which has been involved in adding more than 4,500 rental units to the Twin Cities market in the past three decades -- from Laurel Village in Minneapolis to Hoigaard Village in St. Louis Park -- refused to comment.

ANNE BRETTS

Anne Bretts, a Northfield, Minn.-based freelance writer, can be reached at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.

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