After building hundreds of upscale apartments near the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Kelly Doran is shifting his focus to the suburbs — for now.
Last week, he broke ground on a 484-unit apartment project in Brooklyn Park called 610 West, and he’s about to start construction on major apartment projects in Maple Grove and Hopkins.
“I guess you could say we’re bullish on the suburban market,” Doran said.
Though the company isn’t working on any development projects of its own in Minneapolis, the company is still active in the city. Doran owns four multifamily properties and its construction company is building The Encore luxury apartments in the Mill District for Sherman Associates. The company is also the general contractor on the expansion of the Depot Renaissance Hotel, also in the Mill District.
“Minneapolis is a dynamic, ever-changing city that will always present development opportunity,” Doran said. “Just because our next three projects are in the suburbs doesn’t mean we wouldn’t develop a project in Minneapolis if the right deal came along.”
Doran is at the leading edge of a metro-area development trend. In a second quarter analysis of apartment construction across the Twin Cities, Brent Wittenberg of Marquette Advisors said the suburbs are poised to outpace Minneapolis and St. Paul in apartment construction. In 2015 and 2016, he predicts more than 50 percent of the new rentals coming to the metro will be built in suburban locations, compared with just 27 percent in 2014.
In Brooklyn Park, Doran’s 610 West project will have four buildings and a 24,000 square-foot clubhouse, all of which will be connected by underground walkways. They’ll be the first new market-rate apartments in the city since 1992.
“We’re excited about 610 West,” said Doran. “You can image why there is a lot of enthusiasm for the project among city leaders and the community in general.”
The project is in the Hwy. 610 corridor, across from the Target campus and next to an LA Fitness and Cub Foods store. The $90 million project will include about $7 million in assistance over 15 years from the city’s Economic Development Authority, depending on the profitability of the project.
After he starts that project, Doran will start building the Moline, an upscale apartment building in Hopkins. It is named for a tractor manufacturing company that was once based in the city.
The Hopkins City Council recently gave Doran approval to build the five-story building, which will have 241 units on the north side of Excelsior Boulevard at 810 S. 1st St. The Moline will replace a warehouse that Doran bought in February for $3.55 million.
The project will have a mix of units sizes, several walkout units and a combination of underground and surface lot parking spaces. Amenities will include public indoor bicycle lounge with vending, trail maps, bike repair stations and electronic device charging stations. There will also be a public outdoor plaza with hydration stations, bicycle storage, dog watering stations and public art.
The project isn’t Doran’s only interest in Hopkins. This summer he paid $12.8 million for the three-year-old, 53-unit Marketplace & Main apartments.
Doran is also proceeding with his plans to build what could be one of the largest apartment projects in Maple Grove. He received preliminary approval to develop a two-phase project with nearly 700 apartments in the first phase and retail and a hotel or two in the second phase.
After selling four apartment buildings near the U this summer, Doran paid $10.5 million for a 40-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Hemlock Lane and Elm Creek Boulevard in the Arbor Lakes area.