Murphy Warehouse sold its 22-acre main campus in southeast Minneapolis to its neighbor, the University of Minnesota, for nearly $18 million, a Hennepin County filing showed on Tuesday.
The warehouse, a portion of which is used by the university to store books and geological materials, will continue to be run on the property by its founding family, said Richard Murphy, the fourth-generation leader of a firm that dates back to 1904.
The land, at 701 24th Av. SE., is across railroad tracks from the northeastern edge of the Minneapolis campus, near TCF Bank Stadium. It is believed the largest single tract bordering the university. The university has been eyeing other nearby land for new athletic facilities.
Murphy said the university is looking for expansion space, particularly storage, and the deal was struck in recent days after two appraisals, one as high as $20 million. He said the property is outdated and too small for his company, which operates 11 other warehouses around the Twin Cities, to use as a modern-day storage and truck terminal.
“Our family has strong ties to the university … and we always have said the U would be our preferred buyer,” Murphy said. “The timing of this deal is good for us and good for the U, as well, for long-term future expansion.”
University administrators informed the Board of Regents in a written document last week that the deal includes “a payment by the university in the amount of $17,975,000, and a donation of the remaining property’s value the seller estimates at $2,000,000.”
The university will lease back space to Murphy Warehouse and continue to use the distribution center for University Bookstores as well as to store Department of Geology core samples.
Murphy said his company will lease 663,630 square feet of the 706,029 square-foot campus from the university for up to 10 years. He also indicated that he may move the headquarters and operations before that. The company employs about 200 people around the region.