Bruce Carlson

Vice president of business development, Doran ­Construction


Before Bruce Carlson, 53, landed in commercial real estate, he had ambitions to become a sportscaster and interned at KSTP for the “Good Company” show while at the University of Minnesota.

On a fluke, the south Minneapolis native answered a want ad for Video Update, believing it was a video production company. However, the video store retailer caught his attention and he listened to what company execs had to say. He decided to sign on and would eventually become vice president of real estate. In his 15 years there, he helped Video Update grow from three stores to more than 650.

Carlson later had stints at Bloomington-based United Properties, where he developed grocery-anchored shopping centers, and at Mid-America Real Estate-Minnesota, where he managed the construction and development of more than 200,000 square feet of retail space, including the Whole Foods store at Centennial Lakes in Edina.

He has joined Bloomington-based Doran Construction as vice president of business development. The company is the construction arm of Doran Cos., owned by Kelly Doran and best known for its upscale student-housing developments around the U. Carlson will work to develop relationships with third-party clients.

Q: So Video Update was your start into commercial real estate?

A: During my senior year of college, I started working with Video Update stores, and then I started helping them put up new stores. Video Update taught me how to find sites.

Q: Why join Doran Construction?

A: I’ve always found Kelly [Doran] to be a visionary leader with a reputation for excellence. He’s always been able to make something happen and make it successful. He also has 10 years of construction experience and he’s got financial strength.

Q: What projects are underway?

A: Seven multifamily projects totaling 1,148 units are under construction for a total value of $185 million. They include Latitude 45, Junction Flats and Mill & Main Phase II [all in Minneapolis]. Also The Bridges, a student-housing project at Interstate 35W and University Avenue, is under construction. [In addition to multifamily], I’m also hopeful to bring more retail construction into the mix.

Q: Why is business development a good role?

A: I just felt that my development experience — along with my boots-on-the-ground, in-the-trailer construction experience — and my speech communications background allow me to be a good fit for business development. I will be able to clearly understand clients’ needs and articulate the benefits of Doran Construction.”


Liz Wolf is an Eagan-based freelance writer. She can be reached at