If you’ve been wandering the streets of the North Loop recently, you’d be hard pressed not to find someone sporting a Twins T-shirt.
The neighborhood is buzzing with excitement over the opening of the new Target Field, and those who make their living selling real estate in the area are among the most enthusiastic.
It’s been a long time since agents have been speaking with optimism about the housing market, and while many remain guardedly hopeful, the unveiling of Target Field has clearly generated more interest in the North Loop.
Fritz Kroll, a real estate agent for Edina Realty, said traffic is up considerably at one of the North Loop projects he’s selling — 730 Lofts.
“There are a lot of people running around the North Loop that have never explored this neighborhood — some didn’t even know it really existed,” Kroll said. “There are some people buying just because of the ballpark, but more are buying because they think it will help the neighborhood develop with more restaurants and retail. I think it’s wonderful. I’m really excited the time is finally here, and I think the stadium and its impact on the North Loop will exceed expectations.”
The inventory for ballpark-area condos on the market is also shrinking. There are only 27 new construction condos or lofts within a half-mile of Target Field for sale, said Brady Kroll, another agent with Edina Realty. Combined with older condos on the market, the inventory is 109 units.
“Inventory is dwindling a lot faster than most people understand or realize,” Kroll said.
It’s not just the North Loop that is showing signs of improvement. Other Downtown neighborhoods are seeing more activity.
“I think Downtown, as a whole, has turned a corner in the last six to nine months,” Kroll said. “We’re definitely seeing the average price of units trending up right now. Certain price ranges that were almost unsellable a year ago are selling nicely now.”
Condos priced in the $400,000 range are selling — a price point that was a very tough sale a year ago.
“We’re on the cusp of things getting a lot better in pretty short order,” he said.
It’s not just baseball that is a draw, either. The transit hub at Target Field is a major factor, too, in enticing people to check out the neighborhood. Several modes of transportation converge on the stadium, including the Hiawatha light-rail line, Northstar commuter rail and Metro Transit bus stops.
“Having the light-rail station right there has been an amazing influence on people’s decision to live there, too,” Kroll said. “People seem to be less hung up on having a parking space per person or per bedroom. I’m hearing more people considering giving up one of their cars.”
Joe Grunnet of the Downtown Resource Group, which sells and leases condos, is also revved up about Target Field, but he’s cautious to make too many predictions about the long-term impact of the ballpark.
He’s closed on a few sales involving suburban buyers who want to be close to the Twins action. He’s also helping a group of guys find a “crash pad” to hangout at before and after baseball games.
While the sales are nice, Grunnet would like to see more retail development in the North Loop. He’d also like to see the neighborhood’s small businesses attract more foot traffic.
So far, businesses on 1st Avenue in the Warehouse District are reaping most of the benefits from the ballpark crowds.
“Twins have hit a home run for our neighborhood,” Grunnet said. “It’s definitely going to help. [Change] isn’t going to happen overnight though.”