Peter Diessner has been named president of Kraus-Anderson realty and development, which has led several high-profile recent projects including the Minnesota Vikings’ practice facility in Eagan and the redo of a downtown Minneapolis block that now includes the real estate organization’s new headquarters.
With the appointment, Diessner becomes the third generation in his family to take on a top job at Kraus-Anderson.
His mother’s twin, Bruce Engelsma, is the current chairman and CEO, and Diessner is taking over for another uncle, Dan Engelsma, who is retiring after almost 20 years as president and chief operating officer of Kraus-Anderson Realty. His father, Dennis, is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Kraus-Anderson Insurance.
His grandfather, Lloyd Engelsma, joined the company in 1933 as an estimator and office manager and bought the company in 1938.
“It’s more than just a job,” Diessner said Tuesday. “It’s more than just a promotion. My grandfather started this and built this company. My family has taken it into the next generation.”
Diessner worked as a real estate attorney at firms Fredrikson & Byron and Speeter & Johnson before becoming director of the Kraus-Anderson Financial Services Group Inc. last May. He was named vice president of the umbrella organization in February.
“Pete’s legal and finance backgrounds provide a thorough understanding and well-rounded perspective of real estate deals,” said Bruce Engelsma in a statement. “He will provide exemplary leadership for KA’s realty and development teams in this red-hot marketplace and exciting industry.”
Diessner said he hoped to use what he’s learned as an attorney — such as attention to detail, understanding of finances and legal realty issues — to his new job. A strong job market and substantial amount of capital investment in the Twin Cities continue to provide opportunities for business growth, he said, but he added that rising costs of labor and materials continue to be challenges.
“Historically, Kraus-Anderson has been a sort of a go-at-it-alone type of company,” Diessner said. “Historically, we don’t have a lot of partnerships and when we built something for ourselves, we built it for ourselves to own it.”
But Diessner said Kraus-Anderson leaders want to participate in more joint ventures in the future such as a development close to its offices that would involve a new Wells Fargo bank branch and apartments. Kraus-Anderson is negotiating with an equity partner for the project, which is expected to break ground this summer.
Over the past five years, Kraus-Anderson’s owned and managed real estate portfolio of commercial properties has grown 20%, or nearly 1 million square feet, to approximately 5.5 million square feet.
Its headquarters is an anchor of the Kraus-Anderson Block in downtown Minneapolis, along with Finnegans Brew Co., the HQ Apartments and the Elliot Park Hotel.
Executive Vice President Michael Hille will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the real estate and development companies.