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Twin Cities market for office buildings picks up

  • Article by: JANET MOORE
  • Star Tribune
  • May 23, 2013 - 8:03 PM

 

The market for signature office buildings in the Twin Cities has flourished in recent weeks, with large companies pursuing deals to sell, expand or renovate.

Among them is Toro Co., which plans to expand its corporate headquarters in Bloomington, according to Glen Markegard, planning manager for the city.

The $2 billion maker of turf, landscape, irrigation, and construction equipment will add to its campus at the corner of Lyndale Av. and 82nd St. by building a new 75,000-square-foot three-story office building.

“Toro has had a longtime presence in Bloomington, and we’re delighted they chose to expand here,” Markegard said.

Toro moved into its Bloomington location in 1952, and its corporate headquarters located there a decade later. Now, with about 900 employees, Toro is the city’s ninth-largest employer.

City planners will consider Toro’s expansion request at a June 6 meeting, and, if it’s approved, the measure will go before the City Council on July 1.

Toro officials declined to comment on the expansion.

In Minnetonka, UnitedHealth Group Inc. sold two of its office buildings on its headquarters campus for $146 million, according to a certificate of real estate value filed recently with Hennepin County.

The offices, at 9700 and 9800 Health Care Lane, will be leased back to the health care giant by the buyer, Mesirow Realty of Chicago. The term of the lease is 20 years, documents state.

Sale-leaseback deals are increasingly common in Twin Cities commercial real estate circles, as companies look to simplify their balance sheets.

Last summer, UnitedHealth opened a new state-of-the-art headquarters on its corporate campus off Hwy. 169, not far from the two buildings that were recently sold.

And, in Chaska, the former headquarters for Entegris Inc. at 3500 Lyman Blvd. was sold to a Denver data center provider called ViaWest Inc., according to CBRE Group Inc., which represented the seller. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Privately held ViaWest said in a news release that it plans to renovate the 158,000-square foot space into a new data center — a project that should be completed by the first quarter of 2014. The deal included the 18-year-old building, which Entegris left in 2009, as well as 28 acres of land.

ViaWest CEO Nancy Phillips said in a statement, “We plan to plant our flag in Minnesota, become a part of the community by hiring local technology talent and elevate business growth throughout the region.”

Although it moved its corporate headquarters to Massachusetts, Entegris still maintains facilities in two other buildings in Chaska.

 

Janet Moore • 612-673-7206

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