Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust has sold two separate office/warehouse properties in the Twin Cities for a total of more than $19 million. The deals were brokered by the Twin Cities office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker.

Mark Kolsrud, senior vice president of investment services at Colliers, said both sales had several bidders and ultimately were made to two separate private partnerships made up of local investors. Kolsrud said the sales were part of portfolio management by First Industrial, whose holdings of industrial properties are among the largest in the Twin Cities.

The first sale involved two properties at the Normandale Tech Center in Bloomington totaling 161,368 square feet. The buildings are currently more than 90 percent leased with tenants that include International Paper, Precision Gaskets, and Aufderworld Corp.

The second sale involved two buildings at 770 and 800 Kasota Av. SE. in Minneapolis, totaling 318,006 square feet. The buildings are 100 percent leased with tenants that include Ritrama Duramark Inc. and Wholesale Produce Supply Co.

Badgers win contest

A team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison won this year's University Real Estate Challenge, a competition that challenges college students to analyze and develop projects.

The contest is sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). The competition allows students to get real-world experience by preparing feasibility studies on potential projects. At the same time, NAIOP members, who evaluate the students' work, can get a look at prospective employees.

This year students were asked to present plans to purchase and develop one of two sites, at 700-800 Xenia Av. in Golden Valley and at 801 Carlson Pkwy. in Minnetonka. The Wisconsin team chose the Minnetonka site, developing a plan that called for two new buildings shaped and positioned similar to existing office towers at the site. The proposed buildings would be eight stories tall and wouldn't block views from the existing towers. The development would create 450,000 square feet of Class A office space. Parking for the development would include two 900-stall ramps.

The students proposed that the project be developed in two phases to minimize risk and maximize return.

The competition was judged by Julie Wischnack, a Minnetonka city planner; Robin Zellmer and Jim Damiani, vice presidents at Welsh Companies; Jeff Eaton, president of NorthMarq Real Estate Services; Craig Patterson, vice president at First Industrial Realty Trust, and Lawrence Pobuda, a partner at the Stewart Lawrence Group.

Students from the University of St. Thomas, St. Cloud State University and the University of Northern Iowa also took part.

Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723