Staff Directory 6370569

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
Intern and new hire Hans Sarkinen, a Hennepin Technical College graduate, on Friday adjusts a robot head on a machine that packages gummy bear candies

Minnesota job market remains resilient despite layoffs

Layoffs spiked in May, and hiring in the auto, tech and retail sectors was the worst since 2016.
Jennifer Nelson of the Department of Vehicle Services answered questions about the new driver’s license law at the Unidos offices inside Mercado Cen

Groups rushing to prepare unauthorized immigrants for Minnesota driver's ID change

The law goes in effect in October, and advocates hope it will give an economic lift to immigrant families.
File photo of Shutterfly/Lifetouch’s campus in Eden Prairie. The company has torn down one of its two buildings.

Shutterfly/Lifetouch demolishes one of its Eden Prairie buildings along I-494

The result will be greenspace on the company's campus.
Mike Clark, IT director at Andersen Corp., chatted with folks April 15 at the Deaf, Culture & Language Conference in White Bear Lake.

Andersen Corp. tackles labor shortage by becoming a more inclusive workplace

The Bayport company, like many others in Minnesota, faces a monumental challenge in filling open positions.
As of January, Minnesota employers had 212,000 job openings, more than twice the number of unemployed workers.

Reversing Minnesota's declining immigration numbers could rebuild a shrinking labor force

Immigration has plunged since 2015, but a reversal could help combat the state's labor shortage.
Jostens CEO, Michael Burgess, at the headquarters in Bloomington.

Jostens in Bloomington is latest company to downsize office space

Jostens will sublease two of its three floors of headquarters space in a Bloomington building.
Jose Carrazco inspects a car after a repair this past Friday at his West Oakland Auto Repair in Austin.

How a Mexican immigrant turned his Austin auto shop into a thriving small business

West Oakland Auto Repair won the U.S. Small Business Administration's Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year in Minnesota.
A monument statue as well as trees in Lakewood Cemetery were coated in nearly three inches of fresh snow in early March. The National Weather Service

More snow on the way, with a range of 1 to 5 inches

1"-5" of snow expected in Twin Cities Sunday night, much of rest of Minnesota could see measurable snow. Meteorologists swear it will melt quickly.
Holly Vilione, center, held the hand of COVID-19 patient Rick Ulrich as he worked with physical therapist Brian Ellingboe and aide Jamie Guse, left an

Minnesota worker shortages turned a corner by midyear 2022 — but are far from over

A state of Minnesota study released Friday showed that health care and retail were the sectors with the most job vacancies.
Cub reached a deal with its unionized workers early Friday morning, averting a strike at 33 Twin Cities locations.

Strike averted as Twin Cities Cub employees win new contract

A Cub strike set to begin at 5:30 a.m. Friday ahead of an expectedly busy holiday shopping weekend is no more after union leaders reached a historic labor agreement shortly after midnight for 3,000 workers serving 33 Twin Cities stores.
A criminal complaint was filed at the Hennepin County District Court against a construction firm for workers’ compensation fraud.

Minnesota contractor charged with workers' compensation fraud

The state of Minnesota charged the owner of Giron Construction in Princeton with fraud after an investigation found he lied to the state about the number of workers employed.
A National Labor Relations Board complaint alleges Planned Parenthood in the Twin Cities and Midwest is targeting its union employees with unfair prac

Twin Cities, Midwest Planned Parenthoods facing unfair labor practices allegations

A complaint filed last week with the National Labor Relations Board alleges the reproductive health clinic targeted union employees with harrassment, surveillance and even firing.
Velma G. Warder, 91

MacPhail-trained pianist and Minneapolis schoolteacher Velma Warder dies at 91

The classically trained pianist and pipe organist brought music to church choirs, recitals and theater productions across the Twin Cities.
More Gen Z workers are likely to switch jobs this year after a record turnover year in 2022. Carpenter Paul Olson is one of those who switched careers

Gen Z job market turnover expected to exceed 2022 levels

Robert Half survey finds younger workers and working parents are looking for more pay, more flexibility and a better cultural fit.
State Demographer Susan Brower said the big differences in economic resources and labor force participation likely remain a problem.

New report shows stark economic inequalities among Minnesota's cultural groups

Key findings relied on survey data collected between 2016 and 2020 and show disparities in homeownership, employment, education levels and individual earnings.
Roberto Jacobo, an advocate for workers’ rights and home remodeler, is sanding kitchen cabinets on his porch in Apple Valley.

Fight against wage theft reignites in Minnesota as complaints rise

New bills in the state Legislature could toughen penalties at the same time as local and state governments crack down on the practice.
Gov. Tim Walz is calling for $30 million over two years to help train job seekers in the “critical fields” of technology, health care/caring, educ

Minnesota launches new grant program to train people for tech jobs

New DEED grants expect to train 500 people for tech jobs
Laura Bordelon of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, from left, Kathy Bray of SFM workers’ compensation firm, Dr. Alta DeRoo of Hazelden Betty Ford

Recreational marijuana bill worries Minnesota employers

Business managers had many questions about how to avoid safety concerns and performance issues if they can't test for marijuana.
Tim Baylor said Chase is pulling out of a $68 million residential-commercial project he is leading in north Minneapolis.

Chase Bank pulls out of north Minneapolis project

Chase Bank ended plans to put branch in Satori Boutique apartments on W. Broadway, a project led by former Vikings player Tim Baylor.
Eggs were one item that saw price increases in January.

Inflation cooling off faster in the Twin Cities than U.S. as a whole

The consumer price index for the Twin Cities rose 5.1% over the year ending in January, compared with 6.4% for the U.S.
Centre Village building caretakers Kevin and Larisa Borowske said they were fired and are getting evicted from their apartment because of his labor or

Building manager fired and evicted for union organizing, NLRB complaint says

Married caretakers of the Centre Village condominium building in Minneapolis were fired and told to vacate their apartment after the husband staged several union rallies…
Uganda native Ian Oundo works behind the counter of his newly opened coffee shop, Rafiki Coffee & Cafe, in St. Paul. The African Development Center an

Projects blossom in Twin Cities from aid pledged after George Floyd's death

More than $100 million in projects will emerge this year in the Twin Cities from diversity funds pledged after George Floyd's death.
Minnesota Business Partnership CEO Charlie Weaver

Charlie Weaver retiring from Minnesota Business Partnership after 20 years

Weaver will leave the business lobbying group in the summer.
Mortenson Construction workers on the job at Allianz Field in 2018.

Mortenson creates scholarship program for low-income students at Dunwoody

The pilot program could serve as a model for Mortenson in several other cities where it does work.
Mike Vitt, glass worker apprentice at Minneapolis Glass, has suffered from PTSD and other mental health issues. He’s grateful for a new mental healt

Twin Cities union starts program to combat suicide, drug addiction among construction workers

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82 (DC 82) and the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest (FTIUM). It could be a model for other trades unions in the area.
The U.S. Department of Labor settled a wage violation case against Baywood Home Care.

Twin Cities home-care company to pay $1.6M to settle wage theft case

The case against Baywood Home Care centered on accusations it failed to pay 136 workers overtime.
Junita Flowers, who owns Junita’s Jar, is one of the Center for Economic Inclusion forgivable loan recipients. She is pictured with Kayla Yang-Best

Center for Economic Inclusion issues more than $480,000 in grants, loans to business owners of color

The seven awards are the first under the Vanguard Accelerator program run by the center and funded by several partners.
UnitedHealth Group, which has its headquarters in Minnetonka, expects its growth to continue in 2023.

UnitedHealth sees quarterly earnings increase 17% to $4.9B

Minnesota's largest public company attributes the growth to both an increase in customers and controlling costs.
Taylor Corp. has purchased Acrylic Design Associates, a 125-employee manufacturing plant in Plymouth that specializes in making acrylic fixtures, sign

Taylor Corp. continues as consolidator in printing, graphics industry

The North Mankato company has acquired three firms in December and January.
Residents throughout the Twin Cities say they’ve noticed that daily mail deliveries are becoming less daily.

Twin Cities residents report mail disruptions, but officials call deliveries 'stable'

Rep. Angie Craig on Friday asked the postmaster general to account for delivery problems in the southern suburbs.
Minimum wage in Minnesota goes up 26 cents on Jan. 1.

Minnesota minimum wage goes up Jan. 1, but minimally

In Minnesota, the mandated minimum wage will increase 26 cents.
The U.S. Department of Labor said Rosemount Inc. did not follow federal contractor laws.

Rosemount Inc. in Chanhassen settles lawsuit claiming it failed to follow federal contractor rules

The company did not turn over required equal employment documents, and the Labor Department sued in September. A consent decree was issued this week.
Rendering of the proposed HCMC garage expansion at 600 Park Ave. in Minneapolis.

Hennepin County Medical Center set to get a $140M face lift

The work will be done in phases; the $100 million first phase will redo the purple parking garage on Park Avenue.
Delkor Systems has tried everything to get more workers. The company is still struggling.

There's still a hiring frenzy in Minnesota, but will it last in 2023?

Many don't believe wide-scale layoffs are coming but say the Fed is the wild card when forecasting economic activity.
A Holiday Gas station in North St. Paul, where Daniel Wendt of Detroit Lakes pumped gas and cleaned windows on the way to Tennessee for a family vacat

Gas prices fall under $3 a gallon at some Twin Cities stations

The average unleaded gas price in the Twin Cities was $3.19 a gallon on Friday morning, according to
Actors performed in the radio production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” during a private holiday party hosted by Summit Mortgage for its staff Wedne

Office parties are back in the Twin Cities, bringing cheer

Corporations are bringing back holiday parties in an effort to create bonding and to reconnect after two years of distancing.
A core hearing aid technician assembled a custom hearing aid at Starkey’s Technology Center on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Eden Prairie.

Starkey Hearing cites recession fears as it furloughs 84 workers; top execs to go without pay

The CEO said "unstable" times factored into the decision announced Friday.
Several Minnesota companies have expanded telemedicine benefits this year. Shown is a file photo of Avera eCare telemedicine center in Sioux Falls, S.

Minnesota employers add benefits — including pet perks and meal subsidies — to keep employees

In a tight labor market, additions to health care, vacation and bereavement policies helps recruit and retain workers.
Alicia Rodriguez, who has worked for a year in quality control, made sure each slab was level at Cambria in Le Sueur, Minn.

Cambria, known for its luxury countertops, expands again

The addition, which almost didn't happen, has Cambria back on track with growth, its CEO said, even with new competition arising.
Bob Biesterfeld, CEO of C.H. Robinson, said the company has to cut costs because freight demand has slowed down.

Eden Prairie's C.H. Robinson lays off 650 workers

Citing slowing freight demand, third-party logistics provider C.H. Robinson became the latest employer to cut its workforce because of a slowing economy.
City-owned parking ramps/lots are getting fuller as pandemic recovery continues. The ramp shown is at 1001 2nd Av. S. Minneapolis, MN 55403

Minneapolis parking ramps get more use as workers return to downtown

Municipal parking ramps saw their greatest use in October since downtown traffic nosedived with the arrival of COVID-19.
“401K Contribution” printed on a torn piece of paper that is inserted into the coin slot of a pink piggy bank against a blue background.

Some workers halt 401(k) plan contributions to cope with inflation

More than half of surveyed Americans with retirement accounts changed their contributions to offset financial strain.
$13M grant will support program to elevate jobs of people with disabilities

$13M grant will support program to elevate jobs of people with disabilities

The state program will train and place 1,200 people who are blind or have other disabilities in jobs that pay at least minimum wage.
The 200-acre Viking Lakes project in Eagan includes TCO Stadium, TCO Performance Center,  the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel, and housing and office space.

Minnesota AG's office says Vikings Lake subcontractor obstructing wage theft investigation

Employees say they were paid in cash off the books and were regularly denied overtime pay required by law, despite working 10-hour days, six days a week.
Center for Energy & Environment (CEE) HVAC consultant Taylor Smith sets a programable thermostat, explaining how the device works to Erin Bailey, who

It's going to cost a lot more to heat your house this winter

Federal estimates say home heating bills could increase 18% — and the Midwest is likely to see higher price hikes.
A winter market will be back at Dayton’s Project for the holiday season

Red Wing Shoes, Faribault Woolen Mills join Dayton's winter market

The renovated Dayton's Project, which also has a new tenant, will host a winter market for the second year.
The St. Paul Downtown Alliance found that daytime worker foot traffic has risen to about 50% of pre-pandemic numbers, while evening foot traffic is as

Foot traffic in downtown St. Paul increases but still about half what it was in 2019

Building managers see momentum in a return to the office but say it is uneven.
The Viking Lakes development, shown in an early rendering, is a mix of office, housing and hospitality facilities along with the practice complex of t

Unions cite worker abuse at Viking Lakes in call for greater scrutiny of small construction firms

After a woman was allegedly raped by a Vikings Lakes subcontractor, labor leaders press Wilfs to screen out problem builders.
Rep. Betty McCollum (center) and Defense Department Undersecretary Heidi Shyu  (right) talk with Verterra Energy Inc. founder Ted Christopher in St. P

Defense Department, Rep. Betty McCollum seek more Minnesota technology and innovation

The DOD undersecretary and McCollum hosted a defense summit with top tech firms at the University of St. Thomas.
Jay Lund, CEO of Andersen Corp., laughed with an employee in the company’s Bayport plant in 2013.

Andersen Windows CEO Jay Lund retiring

Lund has worked at the company for 37 years, 12 as CEO. Chris Galvin, the company's president, will take over as CEO at the end of the year.
About 1,500 service workers at the University of Minnesota are voting on whether to strike.

1,500 University of Minnesota service workers to vote on possible strike

The workers, from all five U campuses, are voting this week after negotiations over pay and work environment have raised tensions.
The manufacturing floor at Alexandria Industries, in Alexandria, Minn. Education, government, hospital/clinic and factory jobs had the highest rates o

Gap in 'real' pay between 'stayers' and 'switchers' grows in Minnesota

The median real wages sank 1% for Minnesotans who stayed in their jobs and rose 6% for those who switched, a new report found.
A spec office space located in the remodeded Dayton’s project, in Minneapolis, Minn., on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Prudential to move into Dayton's Project building in downtown Minneapolis

After selling its Plymouth campus, Prudential makes the move to the urban core of Minneapolis, giving downtown a boost.
The lines were back at Los Ocampo restaurant during the lunch hour Tuesday at City Center in Minneapolis. About 55% of downtown workers have returned

Return to offices downtown is still spotty — will that change after Labor Day?

Although conventions and sporting events are bringing crowds, it's still a mixed bag for office buildings downtown.
Fresh Wine Vine executives were named in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging they fired an executive who reported a misappropriation of funds.

Fresh Vine Wine execs embroiled in whistleblower lawsuit

A former CEO claims she was wrongly terminated after reporting financial irregularities to the company's board.
A Fresh French Fries stand worker loaded up a cup with fries Thursday, Aug. 25. The stand had lines stretching into the street as people waited to buy

After two tough years, vendors cheered by revived State Fair

After two years of a dismal pandemic and anemic sales, fair attendance is again strong. Vendors are optimistic that 2022 crowds could reach the record levels enjoyed in 2019.
Courtney Laufenberg, professional organizer and owner of No Loose Ends, shuttled her daughter Lucy, 10, after meeting with clients on Tuesday in Ham L

Back-to-school time is expensive — Minnesota parents offer tips for survival

These mothers, who happen also to be professional organizers, know all the secrets.
OurPlace Residential Services founders, from left to right, Ikraan Abdulle, Murwo Elmi, Faiso Abdulle and Farhia Abdulahi on Aug. 1 in Bloomington. Th

4 first-generation Somali-American nurses started business to care for patients in need

The entrepreneurs founded OurPlace Residential Services to house and care for disabled and homeless patients in the Twin Cities who kept boomeranging back into hospitals.
Anissa Keyes got help from NEON in buying the Camden Park State Bank building for her business and other tenants.

Minnesota businesses owned by people of color are growing fast — and not by chance

After George Floyd's killing, resources, funds and training opportunities expand for young BIPOC entrepreneurs across Minnesota
Lillian Arizona Reed, 100, was a former Honeywell worker who assembled ammunition during World War II.

Lillian Arizona Reed, who was a WWII ammunitions maker, dies at 100

She weathered segregation, the Great Depression and the Great Migration to become a great believer in the education she never received.
Employees Sarah Beth Ryther, center, and Ava Alsens, Lila Faust, Julia Hogan and Ijeoma Ugboajah are part of the union organizing effort at the downto

Minnesota's union membership hits 14-year high point

While no one knows if the momentum will last, there are more votes scheduled in coming months.
The Trader Joe’s on Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis is now unionized.

Downtown Minneapolis store becomes second Trader Joe's in nation to unionize

Trader Joe's downtown Minneapolis store workers voted 55-5 in favor of forming a union in results announced Friday.
3M corporate headquarters in Maplewood.

Federal judge challenges 3M's bankruptcy court move in earplugs case

She said firm appears to be trying to shift judgment on roughly 230,000 lawsuits.
Ball Corp. says it is shutting its St. Paul can factory.

Ball Corp. closing its St. Paul beverage can factory in 2023

Ball Corp. announced this week it is shutting its St. Paul and Phoenix operations following a second quarter loss tied to inflation, changing beverage demand and impairment costs incurred at its Russia plant.
The St. Paul Downtown Alliance will spend $3 million to try to “spark” activity and replace vacant storefronts.

St. Paul Downtown Alliance will pay some rents, add art to 'spark' activity

St. Paul Downtown Alliance uses ARPA and Knight Foundation funds to reignite city commerce.
Pam Hoppe chatted with Thomas Sullivan while he bought a new baseball cap at the Minnesota Twins team store earlier this month at Target Field. Hoppe

Retirees cutting back, taking part-time jobs to beat inflation

With the volatile stock market, financial planners are dealing with nervous clients — some who are delaying retirement because of current conditions.
Financial planners recommend a review of several items before you retire.

Thinking of retiring? Here's a checklist to see if you're ready

Ameriprise financial planner Lisa Tuttle advises checklist tips to weather inflation and a market downturn.
Planned Parenthood North Central States, which operates 28 health centers across Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, is headquar

Planned Parenthood workers vote to unionize in Minnesota, Iowa

Planned Parenthood North Central States will now begin negotiating a contract with the workers represented by SEIU Healthcare.
Whole Woman’s Health in Bloomington may hire doctors from other states to meet increased demand from women in states around Minnesota that restrict

Overwhelmed Minn. abortion clinics recruiting more workers

As anti-abortion laws go into effect in several states, including neighboring North Dakota, the clinics are already seeing an increase in the number of women seeking the procedure.
Advertising agency Carmichael Lynch provides workers with computers and videoconferencing packages for when they work from home.

In the new hybrid world, should employers be reimbursing home-office expenses?

The answer is, it depends — on where you live, on what your industry does generally and your own company needs.
Anne Saxton, left, of the MAC answered questions at a job fair in February for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The state has created a

Minnesota opens office to address employment gaps among people of color

The Office of Public Engagement will work with communities of color and outstate groups to improve unemployment rates.
Medtronic, with operational headquarters is in Fridley, was the first company in Minnesota to publicly engage in the debate on abortion benefits in th

As states ban abortion, Minnesota's employers weigh medical travel benefits

After the Supreme Court's decision, state's largest companies with operations in multiple states — such as Medtronic, 3M and Ecolab — face decisions on health plans.
All of Tiger Oak Media’s operations, including Minnesota Bride magazine, are now sold.

Last pieces of Tiger Oak Media — its bridal magazines — sold

Company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019.
CEO Tawanna Black of the Center for Economic Inclusion

New local diversity index finds U.S. Bank, 3M, Target, among those with best record

Allianz and Fairview Health also scored highly on the inaugural Center for Economic Inclusion index released Tuesday. It measured diverse leadership, hiring and product procurement.
Heather Anderson, coach and digital content producer, worked with fellow employee Connor Bohne on Tuesday at Anytime Fitness’ corporate headquarters

One Minnesota company offers free tattoos, waxing as part of the fight to keep employees

To be sure, Anytime Fitness also is offering increased traditional benefits, including unlimited mental health coverage. It's all part of employee retention in Minnesota these days.