Twin Cities real estate developer Paul Klodt started his long career in 1952 at age 18, building homes one lot at a time in south Minneapolis.
Klodt, 78, died in hospice care at his Minnetonka home on Feb. 24, three weeks after suffering a heart attack.
"Work was his life," said Lois Flannery, a 40-year associate at Klodt Inc., the Minneapolis-based, 60-person firm. "That brought him the greatest joy. He built over 4,000 apartment units in his career. He also did the Sheraton Park Place in St. Louis Park, now the Doubletree Park Place, and the Luxeford Hotel downtown, which also is now a Doubletree property."
"Doubletree made him a good offer for both properties in 1997,'' Flannery said. "He also developed many thousands of square feet of office and retail space. Recently we've been doing apartments because that's what the market wanted."
Klodt, the son of a builder of single-family homes, grew up on a small hobby farm in Edina. He was a more aggressive builder than Frantz Klodt, his father, who only would buy a lot after he had built and sold a house. Paul Klodt, by the late 1950s, was buying several lots at a time, and by the early 1960s was building apartment buildings on the south side of Minneapolis. In the 1970s, he started developing townhouses and condominiums, including Wayzata Place, 3220 W. Calhoun Parkway and Calhoun Gardens.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Klodt moved successfully into office, retail and hotel development.
His recent projects include the 12-story, 102-unit Kenwoood Gables Apartment on Lowry Hill, the 23-story, 416-unit RiverWest Apartments on the Mississippi River downtown, three apartment complexes along the Hiawatha light-rail line as well as Holiday Inn Express hotels in Woodbury and downtown Minneapolis.
Klodt, a jazz fan who sponsored artists at his hotels, generally focused on market-rate housing and avoided government-subsidized deals.
"He was a real hands-on person," Flannery recalled. "He would think nothing of going to a property for a meeting and pulling weeds out of the flower planters. He was kind to all employees, whether they cleaned the halls or negotiated loans."
Klodt is survived by two children, Kevin Klodt and Cheri Hagen; a sister, Myra Christenson, and four grandchildren.
A memorial celebration will be held March 8 at Interlachen County Club, 6200 Interlachen Boulevard, Edina, from 3-7 pm.
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144 • firstname.lastname@example.org