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Dee DePass

Reporter | Commercial Real Estate
Phone: 612-673-7725

Dee DePass is a business reporter covering commercial real estate for the Star Tribune. She previously covered manufacturing, the economy, workplace issues and banking.


Originally from the East Coast, Dee earned her undergraduate degree at Vassar College and a master's degree in journalism at the University of Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, fitness, reading, and being an adjunct journalism professor.
Recent content from Dee DePass
Two men die in north Minneapolis shooting

Two men die in north Minneapolis shooting

Officers arriving at N. Bryant Avenue and W. Broadway found two men had been shot, apparently the victims of a suspect or suspects who fled in a car.
St. Paul closes Water Street amid flood warnings

St. Paul closes Water Street amid flood warnings

St. Paul will temporarily close Water Street/Lilydale Road beginning Monday in anticipation of local street flooding caused by the rising Mississippi River. The Mississippi has…
Tim Baylor during a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday on a $68 million residential-commercial project he is leading in north Minneapolis.

Construction starts on $68M apartment, commercial complex in north Minneapolis

The project is one of the largest ever outside downtown and led by veteran businessman Tim Baylor, Catalyst Opportunity Funds, private investors and local government.
Judge orders $70.5M payout in buyout dispute around Golden Valley trucking firm

Judge orders $70.5M payout in buyout dispute around Golden Valley trucking firm

James Koch is awarded $12 million in damages and $58.5 million in buyout battle against his two brothers around the family companies Koch Cos. and Stan Koch & Sons Trucking.
Doosan Bobcat is building a new plant in Rogers.

Bobcat plans $13M plant in Rogers, will hire more than 100 workers

The site is the second announced for the town in as many weeks.
The Omni Viking Lakes Hotel in Eagan by the Minnesota Vikings’ practice facility.

Subcontractors on Wilf's Viking Lakes project accused of wage theft

The carpenters union alleges wage theft on behalf of at least 25 workers.
Dermot Cowley, owner of O’Donovan’s Irish Pub, unpacked some coasters while getting ready for a Twins crowd last year.

Playoff mania for Wolves, Wild drives big boost for downtowns

Sports pubs, hotels have not seen this much traffic since the pandemic began.
Ecolab’s sales were up 13% during the first quarter, but rising costs resulted in a 10% decrease in net income.

Ecolab profits down despite price hikes to cover rising freight, material costs

The St. Paul-based company's net income fell 10% in the first quarter.
Zach Larson and Evan Vandeneinde, left to right, screen printers at Imprint Engine, worked on creating Armory branded sweatshirts Thursday in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Center firm grows by helping companies reach out to at-home workers

Formerly, Imprint Engine mostly printed company-branded items for events. Now 50% of its business comes from kits for at-home workers.
Kathy Olson, Wells Fargo senior vice president and technology manager.

Wells Fargo VP Kathy Olson, who helped the bank grow, dies at 61

Over 43 years, Olson grew from teller to top tech manager, integrating bank mergers and building both tech service centers and careers for her direct reports.
Kurt Scepaniak, president and CEO of Horizon Roofing, left, took a chance on employee Ernesto Sanchez, an ex-felon, and Sanchez has proven to be a rel

Offering a second chance: Programs help employers hire workers with criminal record

In a tight labor market, the state and federal governments, as well as the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, are helping employers see if those who have records are an option for their workforces.
The trade and transportation sectors, which include railroads, saw job gains in March in Minnesota. Shown is a Union Pacific train.

Minnesota unemployment rate at lowest since 1999

However, the recovery is uneven, with Black and Latino unemployment rates higher. Wage growth in Minnesota also is lower than the nation as a whole.
The $1 million pilot program made four grants to nonprofit and community groups in Minnesota to help expand the pool of IT professionals of color.

New Minnesota program hopes to close skills gap in IT for people of color

The $1 million pilot program includes a new academy at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in north Minneapolis.
Personal stylist Nancy Dilts, left, assisted financial worker Stephanie Hoepner with updating her office wardrobe at Elite Repeat in St. Paul.

Stress mounts for Minnesota workers returning to the office

Returning workers are stressing about everything from commuting costs and wardrobe to redoing routines they had forged during the pandemic.
Aon’s Chicago office, like its office in Minneapolis, is participating in the new apprenticeship program.

Aon launches $30M apprenticeship program in seven cities, including Minneapolis

Aon's new apprenticeship program pledges to hire and send 10,000 people to community college.
Richard Copeland, founder and owner of Thor Construction

Thor Construction founder dies at 66, leaving legacy of Black entrepreneurship in Twin Cities

Richard Copeland's work was captured in the 2007 PBS special "Everyday Heroes."
Jennifer Gunderson and husband Mike Swanson put off buying a new car and replacing windows at their St. Paul house.

Trying to fight inflation? Experts offer age-based tips

Financial advisers have a bag of tricks to help consumers cut back on household budgets.
Marc Majors has been named the deputy commissioner of workforce development for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Jobs program veteran to lead Minnesota's workforce development

Marc Majors replaces Hamse Warfe, who went to work for the Biden administration.
Workers are starting to head back to Wells Fargo Place in St. Paul after a nearly two year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Downtown St. Paul picking up as businesses call workers back

Travelers workers have started a new hybrid model. Ecolab and Securian have set dates. The 3M corporate campus is officially open to all workers again as well.
Dani Carlin helped children paint at Little Naturalists Preschool in January.

Minnesota now a leader in solving day-care dilemma — but far to go

While the state used pandemic aid to help stabilize child-care centers and low-income aid programs, the changes are not yet permanent and many say they don't go far enough.
Securian Financial now plans on starting to bring back workers in March.

More Minnesota companies solidify plans for office return

With hybrid plans the most popular, other businesses like child-care centers are feeling the shift.
Jennifer Byers, executive director of the Minnesota Chamber Foundation, is working on a yearlong project to find talent in overlooked populations.

Amid labor shortage, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce spearheads effort to find untapped talent

The statewide campaign focuses on hiring sometimes-overlooked people such as those with disabilities, ex-prisoners, military veterans and immigrants.
The Minneapolis skyline is reflected on the RBC Gateway tower. Steve Cramer, chief executive of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, said plans to bring

Many Minneapolis employers rebooting return-to-office plans

With omicron cases and hospitalizations on the decline in Minnesota, many employers feel safe in calling people back to office buildings again.
File photo shows Minntac taconite mine plant in Mountain Iron, Minn. One of the conveyor bridges collapsed at the site Wednesday.

U.S. Steel probes second collapse of a major conveyor at Minntac

For the second time in a month, overhead equipment collapsed at Minntac in Mountain Iron.
Tawanna Black is CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion in St. Paul.

JPMorgan awards St. Paul nonprofit $5M to help firms owned by Black, Latina women to grow

The Center for Economic Inclusion hopes to help 60 businesses by 2025, including by using part of the grant to start an investment fund.
Low-income workers with car issues can apply for state grants to get their vehicles repaired.

State car repair grants available to help low-income workers get to jobs

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced $475,000 in Getting to Work grants.
SEIU added workers at Allina Health through organizing efforts since Labor Day. Shown is picketing that took place outside Allina Commons at the Globa

Union memberships rise in 2021 in Minnesota, bucking national trend

The state's level of membership is the highest it's been in 14 years.
CEO Tawanna Black of the Center for Economic Inclusion, which has launched a new tool to help businesses measure their equity and inclusion efforts.

St. Paul nonprofit creates racial equity index to help firms shrink equity gaps

The Center for Economic Inclusion on Tuesday unveiled its racial equity dividends index.
Dani Carlin handed out frozen paints for an activity at Carlin’s home-based child-care center Little Naturalists in St. Paul. The number of home-bas

Parents near breaking point as COVID adds to child-care crisis

The number of child-care slots is declining, and centers are dealing with staff shortages and pandemic rules, while parents are left with expensive bills for incomplete care.
A man, donning a surgical mask, walked through a downtown Minneapolis skyway. Thousands of large Minnesota employers are balancing the emotions of its

With no federal mandate, large Minn. employers consider vaccine requirements

Employers with diverging camps in their workforces — the vaccine hesitant and the exposure averse — will now have to choose their battle.
Patty Ruiz works during her shift at Cambria. The company’s CEO said private sector mandates put companies like his “in a real pickle” over priv

Employers adjust plans after court halts vaccine mandate

Private employers have more control over their corporate vaccination policies, but health care providers will still need to meet the federal mandate requirements.
US Bank workers will not head back to work Monday as had been planned.

Omicron causes more downtown companies to rethink return to office plans

Downtown boosters are worried that an upswing of workers who were coming into work before Christmas will dissipate because of omicron.
Hopes for downtown reawakenings in January are being dashed as companies start pushing back return-to-work dates. Shown is Nicollet Mall in downtown M

More Minnesota employers are delaying return-to-office plans

Securian Financial, Xcel Energy and Wells Fargo have all pushed back their dates to the end of January or February as the omicron variant continues to spread.
Louise Eleanor Hill taught math at North View Junior High in Brooklyn Park for over 40 years.

Louise 'Eleanor' Hill, who taught math in Brooklyn Park, dies at 84

She was a teacher at North View Junior High School for over 40 years.
First National Bank Building in St. Paul, a key holding in the portfolio of Madison Equities, which is under investigation by the state Attorney Gener

Court: Attorney general may continue probe of wage theft claims at St. Paul's Madison Equities

The largest property owner in downtown St. Paul has been trying for two years to limit the state's investigation of the way it pays hourly workers.
McDonald’s franchisee Hyder Investments is facing a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment that led to sexual misconduct at its Maple Grove sto

Minnesota joins lawsuit against McDonald's franchisee alleging sexual harassment, misconduct

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights says Hyder Investments failed to prevent a sexual assault of a 14-year-old and created a hostile work environment at its Maple Grove restaurant.
A tight job market and unprecedented turnover are causing more employers to raise wages, but they still aren’t keeping up with inflation.

Minnesota employees likely to see more pay raises in next year

Surveys show raises are in the works, although the average increase would not keep up with inflation.
The office vacancy rate in St. Paul is improving, according to a national report.

Report: February 2022 might be turning point for back to office in Minnesota

Cushman & Wakefield finds a gradual decrease in office vacancy rates, uptick in leasing.
The Crowne Plaza in downtown Minneapolis has been sold.

Downtown Crowne Plaza sold, will become boutique hotel after $25M renovation

Wisconsin-based Great Lakes Management will lead a team in a $25 million renovation of the property.
Ernst & Young employee Emily Brunette, center, and her colleagues worked in their new office space at the newly remodeled Dayton’s Project building

Some employers rush to bring workers back before new year

The numbers aren't large yet. And many of those who have called teams back say they are getting ready for their companywide "hybrid work" policies to launch in January.
Owner Stephanie Wright, right, prepared orders with Angie James at Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe. “There were some rough days,” she said of their str

Selby Avenue anchor Golden Thyme fights to keep lights on

St. Paul coffee shop and cafe cut hours and staff, but still gives back to neighborhood.
The old Dayton’s Christmas window display will be coming back. It is among several under process right now. The new Dayton’s Project public spaces

Dayton's Project opens to public this week with makers market

After a $350 million conversion into offices, the building's first tenant, Ernst & Young, also moved in.
Radisson Regional Manager Jodie Grannes high-fives employees from the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Mall of America before joining Sushil Reddy on a 25-mi

Twin Cities employers turn on fun to counter 'resignation tsunami'

Companies are hosting cooking competitions, virtual happy hours and Lego championships during Zoom meetings.
Workers at Maud Borup in Le Center, Minn., packaged chocolate-covered pretzels for the holiday season.

Minnesota employers ratchet up benefits to woo workers

As corporate employee benefit enrollments begin this month, help-hungry employers are jazzing up their offerings as a way to retain workers and attract new ones.
Minnesota added more than 17,000 jobs in September, one of the biggest moves upward all year.

Minnesota added 17K jobs in September, one of biggest jumps of the year

The biggest gain happened in the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector.
3M, headquartered in Maplewood, agreed to settle Alabama PFAS contamination lawsuits.

3M paying $99M to settle PFAS lawsuits in Alabama

The settlement agreement ends years of contentious litigation over groundwater contamination near 3M's PFAS factory in Decatur, Ala.
Former seed silos will remain at the Northrup King campus in northeast Minneapolis.

Apartments at Northrup King will house artists in Minneapolis

Artspace will convert two vacant industrial buildings into 84 affordable artist apartments and a cultural center in the heart of the "art district" in northeast Minneapolis.
Packages move down a conveyor belt at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee. The retailer is planning a fourth Twin Cities site in Woodbury.

Amazon to build a fourth Twin Cities warehouse in Woodbury

Dubbed "Project Belle" to avoid publicly naming the tenant, the online retailer expects to hire 500 to 1,000 workers.
The building that held Pier One on Grand Avenue in St. Paul will get a new use.

Bank, restaurant moving into Pier One building on St. Paul's Grand Avenue

A year after neighborhood meetings, construction is underway for a new use of the vacant store on a major retail artery.
Fallon launches new ad campaign celebrating new NHL game broadcasting on Disney/ESPN networks

Minneapolis-based Fallon launches NHL ad campaign on ESPN, Disney channels

Fallon aimed to capture NHL fans and scenes that convey a sense of intimacy, emotion and sentimentality, the ad agency said.
Oppidan Investment has partnered with Rockpoint Group to build nine industrial buildings in Minnesota and North Carolina. Rendering shows design of fu

Oppidan to build 9 warehouses worth $157M in Minnesota, N. Carolina

Excelsior-based company aims to take advantage of intense demand for space in the age of online shopping.
Bill Ribnick, left, with his son, Justin, in this 2016 photo. Ribnick Luxury Outerwear the North Loop’s oldest retailer will close for good in Decem

Ribnick Furs closing 'legendary' store in Minneapolis after 76 years

It's the last fur store in the Twin Cities, outfitting business owners and such luminaries as Prince, Dolly Parton and Kirby Puckett.
Rendering of the new Talamore Senior Living complex Ryan Cos. is building in Woodbury, to open in 2023.

Ryan Cos. breaks ground on $60M senior living center in Woodbury

The project is the 55th senior living complex Minneapolis-based Ryan has built.
Life Time is opening its third co-working + fitness space, this one in the former YMCA in the LaSalle Building in downtown Minneapolis.

Life Time opens co-working site in former YMCA space in downtown Mpls.

Despite market uncertainty, co-working arm of Life Time fitness firm opens third Minnesota site and announces other expansions.
Crews started tearing down Midway Shopping Center in St. Paul on Tuesday.

Midway Shopping Center teardown begins in St. Paul

Demolition began Tuesday after the city issued the demolition permit last week after months of delays.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey looked out at the view from the 36th floor of the new RBC Gateway tower in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis skyline gets new addition with RBC Gateway Tower

The RBC building is expected to open this spring with offices, a Four Seasons Hotel, condos and a bar & grill with year-round outdoor seating.
The $20 million renovations in Two22 Tower in Minneapolis are now complete.

Former Campbell Mithun Tower in downtown Mpls. gets $20M in upgrades

Owners of the newly named Two22 Tower made high-end upgrades, betting that office workers will eventually come back and downtown life will return to normal.
St. Paul is deemed among the most livable state capital cities in the nation, according to a ranking by SmartAsset.

St. Paul ranks 17th of the most livable state capitals, survey finds

Our capital city placed behind Austin, Texas, and ahead of Lansing, Mich., in comparisons of housing, education and amenities in a comparison study by SmartAsset.
Mortenson and five other industry giants make national push for diversity in  construction

Mortenson and five other industry giants make national push for diversity in construction

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 90% of construction employees are male, and two thirds are white.
Afro Deli &Grill co-owner and Abdirahman Kahin has weathered ups and downs at the restaurant in downtown St. Paul.

Hope for big Labor Day rebound has fizzled in downtown St. Paul

Only about 35% of downtown workers have returned to their offices, far short of the 62% the city expected by Labor Day.
H.B. Fuller tacks 11% surcharge on global  products as it battles cost hikes

H.B. Fuller tacks 11% surcharge on global products as it battles cost hikes

Vadnais Heights-based adhesives maker launches price hikes in the face of unrelenting inflation for supplies, labor, freight.
Martena Jones, owner of Fabulous Diva Boutique in the Mall of America, received a $2,500 microgrant funded by the Fredrikson & Byron Foundation for sm

Fredrikson & Byron offers $75K in grants for Twin Cities small businesses hurt by riots, pandemic

Microgrants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 will help with rent, payroll and equipment.
Big Top Liquors, one of the remaining eyesores of the riots after George Floyd’s death, is coming down more than 15 months later.

Demolition of Big Top Liquors — at long last — paves way for redeveloping riot-scarred Midway

Teardown is the first step in a multi-million dollar "United Villages at Midway" project for the 32-acre site over the next decade.
The Minnesota State Fair and its vendors are scrambling to find enough workers to staff their booths with the fair opening Aug. 26.

Minnesota State Fair and its vendors scramble to find workers

Less than two weeks before the fair opens, the businesses inside it and the fair itself need hundreds more workers.
A Shipt worker picks out food at the Edina Target.

Target-owned Shipt, Eagan's CaringBridge forge partnership

CaringBridge users will be able to more easily navigate Shipt delivery — and their readers will be able to help as well.
Developers of the Dayton’s Project are embroiled in a fight over financing of the downtown Minneapolis project on Nicollet Mall.

Dayton's Project owners get temporary reprieve, chance to resolve lender spat

A Hennepin County District judge granted a temporary restraining order, postponing an auction until September.
The return of workers to downtown Minneapolis and other major office settings that was expected just after Labor Day is not going to happen. The resur

Next month's big return to the office in Mpls. and St. Paul is disappearing fast

The growing case levels of the coronavirus, and ongoing hesitancy about vaccines among millions, is forcing many business to rethink plans for office reopenings.
Wells Fargo is delaying the return of workers to its corporate offices, including its Downtown East campus in Minneapolis, shown in a file photo.

More Twin Cities employers push back plans to bring workers back to offices

Wells Fargo, Travelers and others had previously planned to bring workers back in September.
A rendering of an InverPoint industrial building being built by United Properties in Inver Grove Heights.

Online shopping, home delivery spur record demand for Twin Cities warehouse space

Builders don't expect "building frenzy" to slow down any time soon.
The Dayton’s Project is mired in legal wrangling over financing.

Dayton's Project owners ask court for time to get financing together

Judge hears arguments as Dayton's Project owners request a temporary restraining order to prevent a takeover by a hedge fund, reveal possible new lender in $350 million project.
Tom Petters, right, is serving 50 years in federal prison for one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history.

Feds' receiver done clawing back money for victims of Petters' $1.9B Ponzi scheme, recovering a mere sliver

After 13 years of work, about $722 million was recovered after one of the largest and most complex fraud schemes in U.S. history.
IDS Center general manager Deb Kolar stood for a portrait Tuesday morning at the newly remodeled IDS Center’s Crystal Court. Kolar gave a tour of th

Spiffed-up atrium at IDS Center reopens with 'more serenity,' cozier places to lounge

In its first overhaul in more than two decades, the Crystal Court underwent an eight-month, $5-million makeover.
Construction of the first building  of the Arbor Lakes Business Park in Maple Grove should be finished in June, with the second building completed in

Edina developer teams with California firm on Arbor Lakes office park in Maple Grove

New commercial project will sit at intersection of major highways and retail in Maple Grove.
Preston Spire Chief Creative Officer Chris Preston and CEO Jennifer Spire in their new office space in the Crown Roller Mill Building in downtown Minn

Minneapolis ad agency Preston Kelly gets refresh with new name, new digs

To reflect Jennifer Spire's leadership, the agency has changed the name to Preston Spire, and employees will come back to new offices at the Crown Roller Mill building.
The historic and former Dayton’s department store site just reopened in September as a gleaming 12-story office complex after three years of renovat

Dayton's Project lender throws new wrinkle: Selling the debt

A key lender of the project wants to auction off the loan. The project's developer will fight that plan in court, along with the city of Minneapolis and downtown boosters.