Distinctive office complex sold in downtown Minneapolis sold for $103M

  • Article by: JANET MOORE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 22, 2014 - 1:59 PM

Washington Square, the 1960s anchor of the historic Gateway District, has been sold to a California trust for $103 million.


20 Washington Square, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and one of the most appealing buildings in downtown Minneapolis, was sold as part of a $103 million deal that also involved two nearby buildings and a parking ramp.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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An office campus that includes one of the most distinctive buildings in downtown Minneapolis has been sold for $103 million.

The three-building Washington Square complex in the Gateway District was sold Thursday to an entity associated with Shorenstein Partners, a real estate investment trust in San Francisco, according to documents filed with Hennepin County.

For the past six years it had been owned by CommonWealth Partners of Los Angeles. A parking ramp at 25 N. 1st St. was also part of the deal.

This isn’t Shorenstein’s first high-profile purchase in downtown Minneapolis. In late 2012, the firm bought the City Center shopping complex, which also includes the former International Multifoods Tower, a 50-story building that occupies a city block bordered by Nicollet Mall, Hennepin Avenue and 6th and 7th Streets. That deal’s price tag was about $206 million.

Officials from Shorenstein declined to comment about the latest deal.

Washington Square was designed by Minoru Yamasaki & Associates, the same architecture firm that designed the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York.

The centerpiece of the complex is 20 Washington Square, a seven-story building on 20 Washington Av. S. that was completed in 1964 for Northwestern National Life. It is now occupied by Voya Financial, an investment management firm formerly known as ING Reliastar.

The building, located on the site of Minneapolis’ first city hall, was intended to be the centerpiece of the district, where 17 square blocks of aging structures were leveled in the early 1960s to make way for a more modern downtown.

According to the Minnesota Historical Society, 20 Washington Square was a hallmark of the 1960s International Style. It is distinguished by its colonnade of 63 slender, 80-foot columns of white quartz concrete, as well as two reflecting pools on the south side of the building. A certificate of real estate value indicates this property was sold for $17.7 million.

The 22-story office tower called 100 Washington Square at 100 Washington Av. S. sold for $51.5 million. And 111 Washington Av. S. sold for $29 million, documents state. The parking ramp sold for $4.7 million.

The properties were sold for $124 million in 2008 to CommonWealth Partners, the investment partnership of Hines Interests and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.


Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

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  • The two reflecting pools on the Washington Av. side of the 20 Washington building, which houses Voya Financial, an investment management firm.

  • This building at 111 Washington was included in the sale.

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