Twin Cities property developer-manager Kelly Doran was a real estate banker out of the University of Minnesota when he first met Robert Muir, the California-Minnesota-Florida developer who died earlier this month at the age of 89.
Muir had developed Northtown Shopping Center in Blaine, Woodbury Village and a few other suburban commercial projects when he and Doran met to negotiate a piece of land in 1989.
A couple years later, Muir hired Doran to lead Minnesota operations for Robert Muir Co., and eventually they became partners.
“Robert was a dynamic guy who wasn’t intrested in living in Minnesota and we hit if off right away and eventualy became partners and together developed nearly 3 million square feet of shopping centers in the Twin Cities area," recalled Doran, 59.
Muir retired in 2006. Doran started his own development-construction-management company. It has grown from 30 employees a decade ago to about 140 employees, focused mostly on multifamily housing in and around downtown, the University of Minnesota, and, most recently, in Hopkins, Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove. Doran in 2014 took over management of the remaining Minnesota Muir properties, at the request of the Muir family.
“Robert was an innovator, setting the bar for creating quality developments in many Twin Cities communities,” Doran said. “He was known for superior site layout, commercial design, use of flowers, trees and public art in exterior landscapes to enhance aesthetics.”
Doran, raised by a divorced mother with his three sisters, said: “Robert was like a father figure and a great business mentor. He put a lot of trust in me. That meant a lot to a young man who basically grew up without a father.”