AIA MN Home of the Month: North Loop loft brings the farm to the city

Pete J. Sieger - Star Tribune

The loft’s redesigned kitchen layers warm woods against a hard industrial backdrop of exposed steel and raw concrete. The homeowner re-used some materials to hold down remodeling costs.

AIA MN Home of the Month: North Loop loft brings the farm to the city

A North Loop condo makeover balances raw industrial elements with warm rural charm – while staying within the homeowner’s $60,000 budget.

By  Star Tribune
DECEMBER 5, 2015 — 10:03PM


For new condo owner Jared Goodwin, a phone call from his father was perfect timing. Goodwin, who grew up on a farm near Crookston, Minn., had moved to the Twin Cities, and just closed on a loft in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

But his unit’s open layout, soaring ceilings, raw concrete and exposed metal ductwork felt cold and industrial.

Goodwin wanted to redesign the closed-off kitchen and carve out a second bedroom for guests. And nostalgic for his rural roots, he also longed to “somehow bring the farm to the city.”

That opportunity arose when Goodwin’s dad called and announced that he was going to demolish a shed on the farm property. Goodwin and his brothers had often used that early 1900s granary as a “fort” when they were kids. “I told my dad not to bulldoze it down because I have a use for it,” he said.

So Goodwin took a week off from work, and with his brothers tore down the old shed board-by-board, carefully pulling out hundreds of nails. Then they hauled the lumber to a mill in Wisconsin to have it cut and finished.

Today the shed’s rich golden-red cedar and whitewashed pine boards cover accent walls, a fireplace surround and the bedroom floor inside Goodwin’s home in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

And best of all, the DIY reclaimed wood and prep helped him hold down costs — and not bust his $60,000 remodeling budget.

“Every day, I see the journey of the wood from the farm to my home in the city,” he said.

Lofty improvements

Goodwin’s job in finance at Target headquarters sparked him to find a place to live near downtown Minneapolis in 2012.

The up-and-coming North Loop neighborhood boasted bars, restaurants, shopping and Target Field. His real estate agent showed him the corner unit on the top floor of the historic brick Lavoris Chemical building, an industrial artifact converted to lofts in 2004.

“There’s not many buildings where you can get three sides of windows,” said Goodwin, basking in the abundant natural light streaming into his loft. Or the 1920s vintage factory character, including massive bell-topped concrete pillars in the building hallways and in his living room. “With my budget, it was as close as I could get to a penthouse.”

Since Goodwin got a good deal on the 1,800-square-foot loft due to a short sale, he could invest in redesigning the kitchen and adding a guest bedroom, while infusing some warmth.

“The plan was to convert a disconnected kitchen into a contemporary, light-filled space that anchors the transformed loft,” said Christine Albertsson, architect for Albertsson Hansen Architecture in Minneapolis. “We wanted to use as many reclaimed materials as possible to do it on a limited budget.”

For the revamped kitchen, Albertsson and project designer Mark Tambornino replaced the confining peninsula with a new generous-sized, butcher block-topped island for effortless flow between the new expanded kitchen and existing living room.For the revamped kitchen, Albertsson and project designer Mark Tambornino replaced the confining peninsula with a new generous-sized, butcher block-topped island for effortless flow between the new expanded kitchen and existing living room.

They reused and refreshed the existing cabinets, while adding new ones so perfectly matched that even Goodwin can’t tell which are old and new.

The budget-friendly crisp white subway tile backsplash is the backdrop to black granite countertops, which, along with the sink and faucet, also were recycled. Goodwin used an Excel software program to design a unique tile pattern “to keep your eye moving,” he said.

Simple metal pendant lights with retro filament bulbs illuminate kitchen work spaces. He also preserved the unit’s brown-stained concrete floor — but had it buffed to a high-gloss shine.

“Now I have so much counter space,” said Goodwin, an avid cook. “I can make eight big pans of fudge for the family.”

In the living room, Albertsson transformed the dark burgundy drywalled gas fireplace by encasing it with the salvaged cedar. “Now the fireplace stands out and has its own identity,” she said.

The reclaimed cedar motif extends to the newly created second bedroom for Goodwin’s visiting family and friends. Albertsson and Tambornino designed two partial walls in the center of the open floor plan, which let in light from the windows, while defining a private space.

The partial walls are multifunctional with built-in storage shelves, closets and dressers. The room also doubles as Goodwin’s office, with a computer desk at one end.

Another agrarian touch is a curved wall, clad with the farm shed’s salvaged vertical pine boards, at the end of the loft’s entry hallway.

“The curved wall is a transition from the hallway to the main event,” said Albertsson. “It directs your eye around the corner to where the view opens up.”

After the loft project was complete, Goodwin still had leftover cedar planks from the shed. So he used them, along with steel pegs, to craft a 300-bottle wine rack, which greets visitors at the front door.

Goodwin finds comfort in his reinvented North Loop loft, with its merged city and country aesthetic.

He can look out the windows and gaze at downtown skyscrapers, walk to a Twins game or have dinner at nearby Bar La Grassa. “And when I see the nail holes in the wood,” he said. “It brings back the rustic feel of the farm.”

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Average US rate on 30-year mortgage declines

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage declines to 3.95 pct.; 15-year loan unchanged at 3.18 pct.

By JOSH BOAK Associated Press  NOVEMBER 25, 2015 — 12:40PM

WASHINGTON — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates slipped this week after they climbed recently on expectations that the Federal Reserve may soon raise its key short-term interest rate.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Wednesday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.95 percent from 3.97 percent a week earlier. The key 30-year rate was nearly unchanged from its level of a year ago, 3.97 percent. But the average has increased over the past months from 3.76 at the end of October.

The average on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged at 3.18 percent.

Rates have risen in recent weeks as some of the global economic turmoil has calmed. Foreign buyers poured into 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds in October, temporarily depressing mortgage rates that have since risen as the market focus has returned to the Fed.

At a December meeting, Fed officials are expected to raise the federal funds rate — the interest banks charge each other overnight — for the first time in nearly a decade. This crucial short-term rate can influence lending to consumers and businesses such that an increase from the current near-zero level might limit borrowing.

Some Fed policymakers have indicated that the 5 percent unemployment rate and potential for rising inflation levels merit a rate increase, signaling the end of extraordinary stimulus measures that began during the Great Recession.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage increased to 0.7 point from 0.6 point last week. The fee for a 15-year loan was unchanged at 0.6 point.

The average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose 3.01 percent from 2.98 percent; the fee was unchanged at 0.5 point. The average rate on one-year ARMs edged down to 2.59 percent from 2.64 percent; the fee was unchanged at 0.3 point.

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Q&A: Herb Tousley on housing, real estate index

Herb Tousley, director of real estate programs at the University of St. Thomas, says the Twin Cities housing market has distinct characteristics and deserves its own barometer of how it’s performing. Staff photo: Bill Klotz

Q&A: Herb Tousley on housing, real estate index

By: Hank Long Hank Long November 27, 2015 7:00 am

Herb Tousley is a numbers guy at heart.

The commercial real estate veteran and director of real estate programs at the University of St. Thomas said that while he still enjoys watching the transformation of a solid development project, he is more prone to indulge in the statistical side of the industry– before the dirt moves.

Since his appointment as director of the university’s Shenehon Center for Real Estate in 2009, Tousley has taken that love for the numbers side of real estate to help produce analyses on the residential market in the Twin Cities.

The Shenehon Center launched the Minneapolis St. Paul Residential Real Estate Index in 2010. Every month since then the report has offered a specific focus on the Twin Cities residential market, whose distinct characteristics make it a stable, healthy, even a little bit boring market, compared to others across the country, Tousley said.

Finance & Commerce sat down with Tousley to talk about the index and the state of the Twin Cities housing market.

Q: What was the impetus for the Shenehon Center’s creation of the Residential Real Estate Index in 2010?

A: We decided to do our own, because at the time the S&P/Case-Shiller report was the only one around. We were in the depths of the housing crisis. There were a lot of distressed sales, and when you read the Case-Shiller index about Minneapolis, they treated foreclosures and short sales and traditional regular sales as if everything was all the same. So we looked for a way to break out those numbers for people to make them more meaningful.

We wanted to show people, “Hey, look if you’re in a regular house in a regular situation you are not down 40 percent; you might be down 18 percent.” Before that time it didn’t make a big difference, but during that housing crisis we thought being able to break out those numbers for people in this market was important.

Q: Things have changed quite a bit in five years.

A: Well, the housing market certainly has come back since we debuted the index. In 2010 and 2011 there were months where 58 percent of all houses sold were distressed. Now we are back to 7 to 8 percent distressed sales. So we are getting back to what is more like normal.

And we’ve seen this market turn into a seller’s market now. Housing supply is down. Right now there are probably 14,000 to 15,000 existing houses on the market. People are at a point again where they want to buy, and it’s been running in that direction for the last 18 months or so.

Q: Is that a reflection of more buyers looking specifically for existing homes, or is it a lack of new construction?

A: There isn’t as much being built right now, for a couple reasons. For a while we had a shortage of buildable lots available. That’s starting to get better, but the price of construction materials and labor are increasing now that things are getting busy again.

If you look at the difference you’d pay between an existing home and new home for the same square feet, that difference has gotten larger. We will probably have 5,500 to 6,000 (new) single-family homes this year. But in what they called the “good old days,” we had double that (number).

Q: What other features exist in the Twin Cities today that might differentiate this housing market from what national reports indicate?

A: One of the things that makes us different is we are a steadier market than a lot of other places. Our economy is good here. Job growth, income and wage growth is healthy. Our industries are diverse — that has meant we weren’t affected as much by the (housing) crash. We haven’t had the extreme lows or extreme highs to the same extent that other markets have had. If you looked at it from a newsworthy point of view, we are pretty boring.

Q: What do you teach your real estate students as it relates to the importance of spotting trends in the real estate market?

A: You really need to pay attention to what part of the cycle we are in. If you think of your typical commercial project, it may take a couple of years to complete. Where you start in the cycle is one thing. But where is the market going to be two years from now when you are done? Those are the important things we tell them they need to watch for. And that’s what I enjoy most about the work we do here.

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Checkbooks open for luxury living on Lake Minnetonka

Proto Labs founder Lawrence Lukis paid $5 million in cash for the 7,117-square-foot five-bedroom, five-bath home at 320 Ferndale Road in Wayzata. Staff photo: Bill Klotz

Checkbooks open for luxury living on Lake Minnetonka

By: Hank Long Hank Long November 24, 2015 4:05 pm

Two luxury homes on Lake Minnetonka’s northeastern shoreline sold for significant amounts this month.

The closings come as the year-to-date sales activity for homes in the $1 million-and-up range in the Twin Cities market has reached record highs, according to a monthly report from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Maple Plain-based Proto Labs founder Lawrence J. Lukis paid $5 million in cash for a 7,117-square-foot home at 320 Ferndale Road S. in Wayzata, according to a certificate of real estate value that became public Monday. The sale of the five-bedroom, five-bath home closed Nov. 12.

Bob Lothenbach, CEO of Shakopee-based Imagine! Print Solutions, paid nearly $9.4 million for a 6.9-acre site including a 4,170-square-foot lakeshore home at 2770 Gale Road in Woodland and adjacent land.

Lothenbach paid $8.1 million in cash for the home and an adjacent parcel on Nov. 6, according to a certificate of real estate value made public last week. He also purchased another parcel connected to the residential lot for $1.3 million, a Coldwell Banker Burnet representative said Tuesday.

Lothenbach, an Eden Prairie resident, said he purchased the property as a potential investment development opportunity that could include future construction of up to two or three homes on the site.

The property, in a neighborhood residents refer to as Maple Woods, includes a guest home, gazebo and boathouse along 655 feet of shoreline between Robinson and Wayzata bays, the Coldwell Banker Burnet representative said.

Coldwell Banker Burnet’s Meredith Howell, who was unavailable for comment Tuesday, represented the sellers, Joanne and Benton J. Case. The three parcels have a combined estimated market value of $7.4 million, according to Hennepin County property records.

The four-bedroom, four-bathroom home was built in 1950 and had belonged to the Case family for generations, said real estate agent Debbie McNally ofLake Sotheby’s International Realty, who specializes in Lake Minnetonka area real estate.

The online listing for the property referred to the site as one of the Lake Minnetonka’s “remaining historic estates.”

In the Wayzata deal, the seller is Bahram Yusefzadeh, chairman of Florida-based V2R Group Inc. He purchased the property in 1999 for $1.7 million and built the home in 2002 before moving his primary residence to Florida, according to Hennepin County property tax records. The estimated market value for the property is $3.6 million.

The 1.5-acre shoreline property is listed as a seasonal, recreation non-homestead, but was built as a primary residential homestead, said McNally. It was listed for $5.8 million on May 15.

The sale comes after Lukis’ $3.95 million purchase of the neighboring property at 346 Ferndale Road in August 2014, according to Hennepin County property sale records. The site included a single-family home, which Lukis recently razed, according to McNally. The home was built in the 1950s and the previous owner had occasionally used the property for lake access, she added.

Lukis was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

The closing prices for 320 Ferndale Road and 2770 Gale Road reflect a strong upper-end home sales market in the Twin Cities, McNally said.

“The Ferndale and Maple Woods neighborhoods have commanded the very highest prices in the state, so it comes as no surprise that strong prices would show up in those two locations,” she said.

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Carlyle: Multi-generational Living

At the Carlyle condo building in downtown Minneapolis, Betsy Kuller and her husband, Ben Gerber, ride the elevator with daughter Rozlyn, 2, and Kuller's father, Hart Kuller. All live in the Carlyle.

Today’s multi-generational living: condo units in the same building

Separate condo units in the same building provide proximity – with privacy – for today’s extended families.

By Kevyn Burger Special to the Star Tribune
OCTOBER 24, 2015 — 11:07AM


A decade ago, Polly and Keith Nelson began touring towns touted as ideal for retirees. As the teacher and school psychologist approached their final working years, they explored communities in the Carolinas and Arizona. The couple, who’ve long resided in a Philadelphia suburb, thought they’d appreciate a more temperate climate.

But four years ago, they bought a condominium in Minneapolis. The city offered something they could find nowhere else.

A grandchild.

“Peter was born, and six months later we had the condo,” said Keith Nelson, now 68, whose grandkids (yes, there’s another one now) call him “K-Pop.”

The Nelsons purchased a unit at RiverWest — in the same building where their daughter and son-in-law are raising their family. The Pennsylvania couple come to Minneapolis for monthlong visits three or four times a year.

“It’s convenient for us to all have our own space, but it’s nice to be able to go back and forth without getting out of your slippers,” said their son-in-law Eric Laska, 37, who lives five floors above the Nelsons.

New multi-story, multi-family buildings springing up in the Twin Cities offer a fresh way for different generations of a family to be close. They can share an address without sharing a bathroom, by living in separate units of the same building.

“Nationally, about 20 percent of Americans live in multi-family dwellings,” said Tom Musil, real estate professor at the University of St. Thomas. “There wasn’t much of that kind of property in the Twin Cities in the past, but it’s a segment of the housing industry that’s seeing a big shift. In the past 10 years, there have been thousands of these units added with new construction or conversions.”

Condo living is appealing to both downsizing baby boomers and young professionals who are building their first nests. It’s kismet when what they’re looking for intersects in the same building, with easy access to one another as the big drawing card.

“Living with extended family has significant positives. It tightens the family unit, cements the bonds,” said Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author of 15 books on family topics, including “Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)Learning to Live Together Happily.”

“It gives children a sense of security and continuity. It gives their parents support; they have someone they trust in the fallback position. It gives the eldest members of the family great pleasure and meaning.”

‘Here for the milestones’

The Nelsons have embraced the civic culture of their new city during their extended visits. They’ve become enthusiastic fans of the Twins, the Lynx and the Guthrie, regular volunteers at a nearby shelter and visitors to a church within walking distance.

But the stimulating culture of downtown Minneapolis pales in comparison with the satisfaction of grandparenting.

“We wanted to know them, and we wanted them to know us. We want to be involved in their lives,” said Keith Nelson. “We’re here for the milestones — when Ruby took her first steps, when Peter began to talk. I notice the little things more than I did as a parent, when I was going off to work every day. I have more time and fewer distractions.”

“They get to interact in the routines of our real life,” said their daughter, Melissa Laska, 38, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. “In the morning, they might come up and have coffee and give an extra hand while we’re getting out the door. We’re folded into each other’s lives in an easy way.”

A growing number of Americans are choosing to reside with extended-family members. A study by the Pew Research Center tracked a small but significant recent jump in such households, with the number of Americans living in multi-generational homes rising from 51.5 million in 2009 to 56.8 million in 2012, a number that represents 18.1 percent of the population.

Such familiarity may not work for every family, but consumer strategist Kate Muhl, who tracks trends for CEB Iconoculture, finds family engagement has high value across the generations.

“People realize that quantity time is super-valuable; there’s no replacement for it. For young families with dual-income parents, there’s a real practical need to have trusted people around to keep things going. And grandparents have a great investment in the lives of these children.”

Today’s young adults often come from small families and have experienced tighter relationships with their parents than had been the norm in previous generations. Those connections may prime some families to consider living arrangements that make them neighbors.

The grandparents upstairs

When 2-year-old Rozlyn Gerber grows up and remembers going to visit her grandparents, it will not involve going over the river and through the woods.

She will remember getting into an elevator.

The toddler lives with her parents in their condominium on the second floor of the Carlyle, a building that overlooks the Mississippi riverfront in downtown Minneapolis. Her maternal grandparents own a unit on the 36th floor.

“You know that sitcom ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ with those in-laws barging in all the time? It’s nothing like that,” said Rozlyn’s mother, Betsy Kuller, 32, an analyst at Best Buy. “They’re very respectful of our space, and that’s why it works.”

Kuller’s parents left their traditional home in the western suburbs in 2008 to join the first wave of owners when the Carlyle opened. When Kuller and her husband, Ben Gerber, began their search for a condo, they walked through a unit in the building to gain a point of reference, but decided they needed to look no further.

“We were thrilled they chose it; it’s kind of a compliment,” said Susie Kuller, 63. “Being in a large building with multiple units makes this work. We don’t often bump into each other. If I have something to drop off but they’re at work, I have a key but I don’t go in.”

Often when adult children and their parents initiate a move to live closer or even together, it’s to fulfill caregiving needs of the elder generation. But that’s not a factor for most baby-boomer grandparents moving into multi-family buildings. In good health and active, they don’t need help — instead, they’re eager to provide it.

“My husband works two-thirds time, and I volunteer twice a week, so we have time to have fun with our family, said Susie Kuller. “We both still have one living parent, so needing to be looked after is not on our minds.”

One of the benefits that people who live in the same building mention is how the arrangement allows them to initiate spontaneous time together.

“We get to see each other without any pressure — no one has to be the host,” said Betsy Kuller. “I can run out on a short errand without having to line up sitting; they love to have her come up.”

Families who consider living in the same building may think they are part of a new housing trend, but in fact, it’s a return to the way that families lived for centuries.

“Middle-class white families are catching up to what’s been working for multicultural communities forever. For newcomers, the way to get a foothold has always been with the support that family can provide,” said consumer strategist Muhl. “There’s a lot to learn from them.”


Kevyn Burger is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and newscaster at

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Ashford pays $86 million for W hotel at Foshay

By: Hank Long Hank Long November 20, 2015 3:50 pm 0

The Dallas-based Ashford Hospitality Trust paid $86 million for the W Minneapolis Hotel at the Foshay in downtown Minneapolis, according to a certificate of real estate value made public Friday.

The purchase price works out to $375,546 per room. The deal closed Nov. 10.

The seller was RWB Development Co. LLC in Edina, an entity related to real estate entrepreneur Ralph Burnet.

Ashford, a real estate investment trust, announced in June that it had signed a $101 million agreement to acquire the 229-room W Minneapolis Hotel at the Foshay, at 821 Marquette Ave., and the 60-room Le Meridien, at 901 Hennepin Ave. S. But it did not break out the purchase prices for each building.

Still, in August, RWB closed on the $15 million purchase of Le Meridien, for which RWB paid about $3 million in 2004. This year’s deal worked out to $229,000 per room.

Hennepin County valued the 86-year-old Foshay building – the first skyscraper in Minneapolis — at $29.7 million. RWB paid $15.75 million for the Foshay in September 2006 and proceeded to redevelop it.

Monty Bennett, Ashford’s chairman and CEO, said in June that the Minneapolis market is experiencing strong “RevPAR” growth, a reference to revenue per available room.

“The W Minneapolis is an iconic landmark and both hotels are in excellent physical condition with minimal [capital expenditure] needs. Further, with the expansion of demand drivers, including the highly anticipated addition of the [$1.1 billion Minnesota Vikings] stadium, which is expected to open in 2016, we believe these hotels are well-positioned to achieve further increases in RevPAR,” Bennett said in a prepared statement.

Ashford’s other hotels in Minnesota include the Minnetonka Sheraton and the Hilton-Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in Bloomington.

On its website, Ashford says its portfolio includes 129 properties with more than 27,000 rooms. The majority of its hotels operate under premium brands owned by Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt and Intercontinental.

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North Loop Condos

These are the first new condominiums in the North Loop since before the housing crash.

The North Loop is set to get its first new for-sale housing in nearly a decade.

Robb Miller and Curt Gunsbury received final approval this week to build 30 upscale condominiums in a new glass-and-concrete building in the heart of the Minneapolis Warehouse District between the central business district and the Mississippi River.

Final prices haven’t been set but are expected to range from $900,000 to $3 million for units with private elevators, terraces and recessed balconies.

The duo plans to start marketing 602 First in early March, but they won’t start construction until they get signed purchase agreements for half the units. They expect to break ground this spring.

“The market is really strong right now and there’s a real dearth of choices for people,” Gunsbury said. “We see this as really fulfilling a need in the market.”

The eight-story building would replace two small commercial buildings. “I’m not sure there’s any other place like it, it’s right in the middle of everything,” Gunsbury said. “It’s like a quiet cul-de-sac, it literally backs up to the river.”

The shape and scale of the building largely mimics the neighboring warehouses. But with walls of glass windows and recessed steel balconies, its contemporary design is a stark contrast to those brick and timber structures.

Agents say the North Loop is more than ready for more owner-occupied housing. Since the 2007 housing crash, downtown developers have been focused on building thousands of high-end rental apartments. There’s growing concern, however, that too many apartments are hitting the market at the same, and some say there’s pent-up demand among those who want to buy.

“I think the market is ripe for new construction,” said B.J. LaVelle, a sales agent with the Downtown Resource Group in the North Loop.

Despite rising prices, in downtown and across the river, inventory has been steadily falling. There are now fewer than 150 properties on the market, including only 10 new units, compared with more than 600 at the peak of the market in late 2007, according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Developers have been reluctant to build for-sale housing because the gap between existing units and new construction was far too wide. Now, LaVelle said, “The price-per-square-foot numbers in the resale market are hitting the point where it starts to make more sense for developers.”

Developers have worried about building condos because of the heightened risk of litigation that comes with building for-sale housing. During the last condo boom, several developers faced costly lawsuits from homeowner’s associations after leaks and other problems were discovered years after completion of the building.

Gunsbury and Miller say that long-standing relationships with contractors and heightened attention to detail will help them avoid such problems.

“We are using multiple methods to mitigate risk,” Miller said. “We go back to the basics: We build a quality product and we take care of our customers.”

Miller, vice president at TE Miller Development, and Gunsbury, owner of Solhem Companies, have partnered on several large projects in the city, including the 7 West apartments where Grandma’s Saloon once stood near the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. And they’ve developed many apartment buildings in the North Loop.

Hundreds of condominiums were built in the North Loop before the housing crash, but the 30 in 602 First will be the first since then. In the Mill District a mile downriver, Jim Stanton recently finished developing Stonebridge Lofts, a 164-unit project that was nearly sold out by the time the building was completed.

Bob Lux of Alatus has proposed a 40-story residential tower across the river from downtown Minneapolis, but hasn’t said if they will be condos or apartments. And Stanton has proposed two additional condo buildings, including the Eclipse along Hennepin Avenue and a high-rise at the corner of 8th Street and Portland Avenue S. in Downtown East.

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Multi-Million dollar condo sells in Minneapolis

Home / News / Real Estate / Minneapolis riverfront condo sells for $4.24 million

Minneapolis riverfront condo sells for $4.24 million

By: Adam Voge January 26, 2015 2:49 pm 0

The Washburn Lofts building, at 700 Second St. S. in Minneapolis, was constructed in 1914 and converted to residential use in 2000. The building is just west of the Mill City Museum along the riverfront. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)The Washburn Lofts building, at 700 Second St. S. in Minneapolis, was constructed in 1914 and converted to residential use in 2000. The building is just west of the Mill City Museum along the riverfront. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)


A downtown Minneapolis condominium last owned by former technology executive Lawrence Perlman has sold for $4.235 million.

Ellem & Opie LLC, an entity registered to a Minneapolis address, closed Jan. 21 on its purchase of unit W31 in the Washburn Lofts condos at 700 Second St. S. in Minneapolis, according to a certificate of real estate value made public last week. The LLC doesn’t list a manager and its phone number goes back to a title company.

The purchase price for the 4,048-square-foot condo works out to more than $1,040 per square foot, a princely sum compared to the normal going rate even for the most luxurious riverfront condos in Minneapolis.

Andy Asbury, a Realtor with the Minneapolis office of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, said most deals come in between $600 and $800 per square foot.

“The condo market in general is incredibly strong and inventories are incredibly low,” he said Monday. “The luxury side of the market is showing really positive signs that buyers are willing to pay top dollar — and then some — to get exactly what they want when they want it.”

The seller in the Washburn Lofts deal is LP-LPP Trust, a Wyoming-based entity tied to Lawrence Perlman. Perlman was the chairman and CEO of Control Data/Ceridian Corp. and Seagate Technology. He has also served on several notable local boards, including Valspar Corp.

Perlman’s listed phone number of the CRV also went back to a title company.

The 10-story Washburn Lofts building offers a total of 22 units, according to the Minneapolis Lofts and Condos blog. The building was originally built in 1914 for the Washburn Crosby Co., but was converted to residential use in 2000.

The building is on the northeast quadrant of Portland Avenue and Second Street, immediately west of the Mill City Museum and about a block west of the Guthrie Theater.

Hennepin County values the parcels included in the sale at $1.49 million, according to property tax records.

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Turning dirt in luxury condo living in Minneapolis

Stanton plans condos near Downtown East

Residents of the Sexton Lofts (at right) occasionally use the vacant lot at 516 S. Eighth St. in Minneapolis as a dog park. Developer Jim Stanton plans to build condos on the site. (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Stanton plans condos near Downtown East

By: Adam Voge August 27, 2014 3:27 pm 0

The Minneapolis neighborhood surrounding Ryan Cos. US Inc.’s $420 million Downtown East project is already set to gain new apartments, restaurants, a stadium and offices for 5,000 Wells Fargo & Co. employees in the coming years.

Now developer Jim Stanton wants to build condos there.

Stanton, owner of Coon Rapids-based Shamrock Development, has purchased a 0.64-acre lot and is planning a roughly 15-story building with about 110 condos, he told Finance & Commerce on Wednesday.

The building would rise at 516 S. Eighth St., immediately south of the existing Sexton Lofts, which include more than 140 units on seven floors. The surrounding blocks include several projects nearing or already under construction, and the project site is about three blocks south of Ryan’s project.

“I think that area is all going to take off a little bit,” Stanton said, noting the Ryan development, the new Minnesota Vikings stadium and other projects. “I’m excited about all that stuff.”

Stanton declined to share the sales price of the lot. He said the deal closed “two or three weeks ago,” but a certificate of real estate value was not available as of Wednesday afternoon. The property is valued at $707,900, according to Hennepin County tax records. The seller is Maine-based Rock Properties Management, which was represented by Kevin Mullen of Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty.

Shamrock has discussed the project with city officials at least once and will submit a project application “shortly,” Stanton said Wednesday. Most details of the project are still “not firm,” he added.

City spokesman Matt Lindstrom said no application for the site has been filed yet.

The latest plans are much smaller than some drawn up for the same lot. Before the condo market tanked, developers JTT Development and Regency Homes proposed a 34-story tower with 282 units in 2006. But that project never came to fruition.

The owner of JTT later became tied up in a long-running mortgage fraud trial involving the Sexton and was eventually sentenced in 2010 to 27 months in prison.

The Elliot Park neighborhood has long supported additional housing on that site.

“I think the community will be very excited about condos there,” Lynn Regnier, executive director of the Elliot Park Neighborhood Inc., said Wednesday.

Although Stanton’s newest project would be independent of the Sexton, the two buildings would likely have some tie-ins. For example, the developer has negotiated with the Sexton homeowners association to provide some parking for them.

The decision to build condos would make Stanton one of the few operating in that sector downtown. Developers Curt Gunsbury and Robb Miller have proposed a much smaller 24-unit building in the North Loop, and Minneapolis-based Alatus LLC is considering making its proposed high-rise building in St. Anthony-Main a condo tower with about 185 units.

A separate Stanton proposal for 360 condos called The Eclipse, at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Washington Avenue downtown, is the only other such project on the city’s books at the moment.

Apartment development is far more popular downtown at the moment, but market researcher Mary Bujold said Wednesday that there has always been a demand for condos downtown.

“The market is still pushing for rentals, but I think we’re going to get to a point in the next 24 months where we’re going to hit the wall for rental,” said Bujold, president of Minneapolis-based Maxfield Research. “There is always a market for some for-sale” residential properties.

That includes Stanton’s new Stonebridge Lofts, a 164-unit building across from Gold Medal Park. Only eight units in that building remained unsold as of Wednesday, a pace Bujold called “very quick.”

As for the Eclipse, Stanton said Wednesday that he wants 1.8 parking spots for each condo in the building, which has drawn apprehension from the city. Regulation calls for about 1.6 spaces per unit.

Until he gets his parking, Stanton said, the project can wait.

“Basically until the city decides we can have more than 1.6 parking spaces per residence, I would not take a chance on it,” he said, adding that many condo buyers want two parking spots, instead of just one. “On the bulletin boards at these projects, I consistently see ‘Wanted: One parking spot,’ and they’re paying a lot for them.”

The Eclipse would also have to provide about 80 parking spots for neighboring businesses that currently use the site for parking, Stanton added.

It wasn’t clear Wednesday how many parking spaces Stanton would want for the condo building on Eighth Street.

St. Paul-based Oertel Architects designed the Eclipse and will design the new building.

Frank Jermusek, president of St. Louis Park-based Northco Real Estate Services, brokered the latest land deal for Shamrock.

Several other projects are moving forward mere blocks from the Sexton. Immediately to the south, Kraus-Anderson is planning a new 80,000-square-foot headquarters. About two blocks southeast, Hennepin County Medical Center plans to start work soon on a $191 million downtown expansion.

Other projects under discussion include Sherman Associates’ 175-unit apartment building and 120- to 140-room hotel, an overhaul of the Minneapolis Armory, and a Ryan apartment tower next to the Vikings stadium. The details regarding the tower are expected to be fleshed out over the next several months.

If all goes to plan, Stanton said he would like to break ground in time to start building vertically by March.

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New Condo Development Proposed

Developer proposes 20-story building on Hennepin Ave. downtown

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: January 23, 2014 – 2:50 PM

The residential construction boom in downtown Minneapolis got another boost Thursday with the proposal of a new 20-story building on Hennepin Avenue.

Called Eclipse, the development between Washington Avenue and 3rd Street North would have 360 condominium units and ground-level retail. The site is now vacant land.

The project from Shamrock Development also features a whopping 759 parking spaces, which would accommodate the residential and retail activities, according to a staff report. That continues a trend of developments providing parking downtown, despite having no parking minimums.

Here are the renderings, released today. The planning commission committee of the whole will discuss the project on January 30.

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