Buzza Phase II and more

Washington & Nicollet

United Properties


At (very) long last United Properties has a (mostly) final, definitive plan for one of downtown Minneapolis’ last completely undeveloped locations. Where the old Nicollet Hotel stood (until it was demolished in 1991), United will begin construction of a 35-story mixed-use tower with 530,000 square feet of office space and 10 floors of a five-star hotel, with the name of that partner still to be determined. RBC Wealth Management will be the primary office tenant. The building will also accommodate 22 condos on 10 of its floors and 455 spaces of underground parking. At 503 feet, it will rank as the 10th tallest building in Minneapolis. 

314 6th Ave. N.

Opus Group & Greco

Variant apartments

The two developers of the newly constructed, 144-unit Variant apartment building in the North Loop have announced the sale of the building to New York-based TIAA for a reported price of $49.95 million, or nearly $350,000 per unit, possibly the highest price per unit of any local sale in 2018. The building, which is three blocks from Target Field and the adjacent transit station, was completed in 2017. It has an outdoor pool deck, a patio on its roof and underground parking. Opus acquired the property in 2015 for $3.1 million, and it is currently on Hennepin County tax rolls with a valuation of $38.35 million.

801 9th St. SE

Hempel Companies

American Spirit printing plant

Hempel Companies, a Minneapolis-based developer, has purchased the former American Spirit Graphics printing plant in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood for $3.2 million, or $29 per square foot. The building is located just off Interstate 35W and Hennepin Avenue. Hempel intends to redevelop the site, possibly with an 88-unit affordable housing project at one end of the 2.68-acre parcel, assuming it can get low-income tax credits. The rest, some new and some remodeled, may be fashioned to attract craft industries of one sort or another. Hempel and partner Reuter Walton are currently constructing a 122-unit apartment building adjacent to the new Thrivent Financial headquarters downtown.

2701 4th St. SE

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital

44 North Apartments 
(formerly Metro Park East)

A four-year-old, three-building, 194-unit apartment complex in the University of Minnesota area (two blocks east of TCF Stadium) has been sold again. What was known as Metro Park East was purchased for $58.4 million by Chicago-based Harrison Street Real Estate Capital and renamed 44 North. The most recent owner was New York-based DRA Advisors, which paid $47.5 million in 2016. This purchase follows Harrison’s 2016 buy of the 150-unit Pavilion on Berry apartments and its ownership of the Station on Washington, a 97-unit building at 616 Washington Ave. S.

29th & Dupont


Buzza Phase II

Plymouth-based affordable housing-oriented developer Dominium believes it has found a way to jump-start a project it wanted to build in 2013. The plan, dubbed Buzza Phase II, will put up 135 market-rate apartments in the Uptown area on a surface parking lot currently in use for the company’s Buzza Lofts, an old office and factory building Dominium converted to affordable apartments in 2011. The restart comes as a thanks to a facet of the 2017 federal tax-reform bill, one that allows investors to receive tax benefits for buying real estate. If all goes as Dominium hopes, the project will produce 11 studio, 84 one-bedroom and 40 two-bedroom apartments with an outdoor deck pool — all for $34 million in construction costs.

701 15th Ave. SE

Heitman investments


In another University of Minnesota-area sale, Heitman, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm, has paid $76.3 million for a student apartment complex. Minneapolis-based CPM Companies and New Jersey-based University Student Living built the six-story, 200-unit building three years ago by. The building, which is fully occupied, offers a range of apartments from one to four bedrooms and has an average rent of $2,653. Radius is located within walking distance of the Stadium Village Green Line stop.

South 4th Street between Park and Chicago avenues

Ryan Companies

Ryan residential tower

As what one company official calls “the last piece of the puzzle,” Ryan Companies has switched gears on a thin parcel adjacent to both The Commons and U.S. Bank Stadium. Instead of an office building with some residential space, the entire 25-story story tower, proposed in mid-November for an area adjacent to the Mills Fleet Farm parking ramp, will be apartments — 345 of them, to be exact. The plan, submitted to the city’s Planning Commission, details a ground-floor lobby, “residential amenity space” and rooftop amenity space, plus space for 150 cars. The plan also calls for the building to be connected to the downtown skyway system. Given smooth sailing through the city process, construction could slated to begin “sometime in 2019” with completion in 2021 “at the earliest,” according to Ryan.

5th & 6th

Hempel Companies with Reuter Walton

Thrivent corporate lot apartments

Construction on a $50-million, 122-unit apartment complex wrapping around a 773-car parking ramp adjacent to what will soon become Thrivent Financial’s old building is on pace, according to Kyle Brasser of Reuter Walton, which has partnered with the Hempel Companies on the project. Still slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2019, construction is out of the ground, simultaneous with foundation work on Thrivent’s new 350,000-square-foot building across South 5th Street. Leasing for the apartments, a mix of studios, one- and two-bedrooms, has not yet begun. Amenities include a year-round rooftop deck (with heated stone pavers to blunt the impact of snow and ice), fitness center and community space. The project expanded from 77 units to 107 units and then 122 units in the run up to construction. The majority of the units are still projected to rent in the $1,450–$1,950 range.

30 S. 9th St.

Swervo Development Corp.


In a bold attempt to lure so-called “creative types” closer into the downtown core, developer Ned Abdul’s Swervo has completed a $5 million purchase of the old YMCA building on South 9th Street between LaSalle and Hennepin avenues. Swervo announced plans to strip off the building’s heavy brick exterior and replace the entire south-facing wall with glass. (See this issue’s Biz Buzz column for more details.) The YMCA relocated into Gaviidae Commons earlier this year, and Swervo is aiming the unique, highly convertible space at start-ups and similar businesses.

1101 E. Hennepin Ave.

North Bay Companies

1101 Lofts

At the location currently occupied by Hoover Wheel Alignment immediately east of Interstate 35W, the North Bay Companies are proposing a five-story, 56-unit mixed-use apartment project with 4000 square feet of retail space. Speaking for DJR Architects, Dean Dovolis and Amanda Pederson describe a facility composed “mostly of studios” while not necessarily targeted for students at the nearby University of Minnesota. “There’s a lot of industrial and arts space in that area with quite a bit of demand for this kind of housing,” Dovolis said. Pederson expects the building, with “a nice lobby and a small fitness center,” will commence construction in the spring of 2019 and be completed “within nine months to a year.”