Commercial Real Estate

Minnesota United FC Outdoor Soccer Stadium Plan

Minnesota United FC is a professional soccer team that plays in the North American Soccer League (NASL), a division II league in the American league system. On March 25th, 2015, the team finally got the long-awaited opportunity to move up to division I by officially being awarded the 23rd MLS franchise. Minnesota United FC MLS debut is set for either the 2017 or 2018 season, thus giving the organization enough time to build a new stadium with higher capacity than the current one as the team will be welcoming more Minnesotan fans.

Source: Minnesota United FC

Source: Minnesota United FC

According to MLS, Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire met with Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and state legislators last Tuesday, April 14, 2015 to explain his group’s plan of an 18,500-capacity outdoor soccer stadium in an area of Minneapolis known as West Loop. The stadium construction will cost $120 million, with $30 million allotted for land acquisition.

Commercial Real Estate

RadioShack Closing Stores

After 94 years of operation, American electronics retail chain RadioShack filed for bankruptcy with $1.2 billion in assets and $1.38 billion in liabilities in a Delaware court on Thursday, 2/5. Changing technology and consumer habits seem to have been a tougher challenge for RadioShack as e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay continue to take over. Standard General, a private equity fund, announced that it will acquire 2,400 RadioShack stores and will work with Sprint to create 1,750 store-within-a store concepts nationwide. In Minnesota, over 20 RadioShack stores are expected to close as a result of this bankruptcy filing.

Source: Forbes

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy (Source: Forbes)



Commercial Real Estate, International Real Estate

Future of Target’s 133 soon-to-be Vacant Stores in Canada

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, Target Corp. announced that it will exit the Canadian market by closing its 133 stores due to disappointing financial results from this past holiday season. Target Corp. CEO Brian Cornell described it as a failure to seduce Canadian consumers since the company’s 2013 expansion. He added that this market exit decision also came after concluding that the company would not become profitable until 2021.

Source: Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Source: Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS

From a real-estate perspective, the question now is “What will happen to Target’s 133 soon-to-be vacant stores in Canada?” The Toronto Star just reported that Canada-based GoodLife Fitness and New Hampshire-based Planet Fitness are both interested in some of the spaces that will be vacated by Target Canada as it’s expecting to complete its stores shut down by May or June of this year.

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Industry News, International Real Estate, Think Outside The Box, Urban Planning

Rising Towers Escalate Need for Faster Lifts

 The following article by  was reposted from the current issue of Urban Land Magazine

December 1, 2014


When Shanghai Tower opens as China’s tallest building next year, the 2,073-foot (632 m) tower will feature elevators capable of traveling 40.3 miles (64.8 km) per hour, or 59 feet (18 m) per second, a new milestone. That bests the 55.1 feet (16.8 m) per second achieved by the elevators in the current record holder, Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which was completed in 2004.

But Shanghai Tower likely will not hold the title as world’s fastest for long. Builders of the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, which is scheduled to open in 2016 in Guangzhou, China, have promised elevators capable of traveling 66 feet (20 m) per second, or 45 miles (72 km) per hour. The elevators will take passengers from the first floor to the 95th floor in about 43 seconds.

The question facing the industry today: how fast can elevators go without sacrificing comfort?

“This is a new day,” says Steve Edgett, partner in Edgett Williams Consulting Groups, which works on elevator designs. “We’re in uncharted territory.” Some analysts believe mankind may be close to the limits of elevator speeds using modern technology. “I think there is a limit, not to building, but what we can do efficiently,” says Johannes de Jong, head of technology for Finland-based Kone Elevators.


Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower will feature the longest single elevator ride in a building, about 2,165 feet (660 m). (Kone Corporation)

The biggest obstacle for faster speeds is the variance in air pressure from the bottom to the top of tall buildings. A superfast elevator leaves no time for the body to adjust to the changes in pressure, similar to the effect experienced by divers surfacing too quickly in the ocean.

For elevators to go faster, something will have to be done to accommodate the human ear, which is extremely sensitive to pressure changes. Commercial jets typically take 20 to 30 minutes to descend from their highest altitude and help passengers adjust, yet earaches and complaints are still common. “One thing we cannot do is change the laws of physics,” de Jong says.

For the Guangzhou tower, Japanese tech firm Hitachi, which is building the elevators, will use a sophisticated control panel that can respond to “changes in atmospheric pressure correctly” to smooth the acceleration and deceleration process and “relieve the feeling of fullness in the ear as a result,” a company spokesperson says. This adjustment technology will reduce the abrupt pressure changes inside the elevator car, while special “active guide rollers” will compensate for even tiny lateral vibrations, Hitachi says.

But there is no guarantee the measures will provide a comfortable ride. Every person’s physiology is different; people with colds or earaches may be more susceptible to ear problems. At 66 feet (20 m) per second, even the slightest vibration will create a shock for passengers.

In Taipei 101 and other existing tall buildings, the elevators are usually set to descend much slower than they ascend in order to ease the ride. Nevertheless, passenger complaints are common. “At nine meters [30 feet] a second, I felt my ears pop,” Edgett says.

In the one-kilometer-tall (0.6 mi) Kingdom Tower under construction in Saudi Arabia—which likely will become the next “tallest building in the world”—Kone expects elevator speeds to peak at 33 to 41 feet (10 to 12.5 m) per second. “It’s up to the client,” de Jong says. “We have to show him how it feels.”

However, Kingdom Tower will feature the longest single elevator ride in a building, about 2,165 feet (660 m), using a new carbon fiber cable designed by Kone called UltraRope, which is dramatically lighter and stronger than steel cables.

Read the entire article at



Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame

2014 Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Recap

Keynote speaker Robert Senkler, CEO of Securian Financial Group, shared some great advice with the crowd at the 2014 Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony during his address. He stated:

Ask: Would this look good on the front page?

Mr. Senkler was talking specifically about undocumented compensation in the insurance industry but this applies to many decisions. If a decision made the front page of the newspaper, would it look good for you, your company, your employees and your client? If not, take the time to really think about why.

Check your balance sheet.

In 2005 and 2006, Securian made sure that if the unthinkable happened, they’d be ready. Now, they call the unthinkable 2008. Because they created scenarios to test their business, they were ready. Rather than having to be reactive, they had a plan in place. This helped them to weather the storm through 2008 and 2009 for their company by saving jobs and keeping their business afloat.

Do the simple things well.

With this real estate group, Mr. Senkler used the example of checking financial records and receiving solid valuations. While that is something much less complex than coming up with a development plan, many smart people missed the simple step in the last few years which caused big problems. In other words, don’t forget the details and how important they are in the overall scope of business.


All employers have to pay people to come to work for them. But, they don’t all make their employees feel good about what they are contributing to the company. Community service and the ability to give back as part of a job is a great way to differentiate among other employers. It helps to build a work environment routed in ethical business practice and hardworking people who give back not only because they are being paid to do so but because they want to do so.

Once again, congratulations to the 2014 Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame inductees:

George R. Karvel, Ph.D.

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Cyril “Cy” Kuefler, Sr.

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Jim Stanton

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Iconic Rotterdam Project Uniquely Combines Open Air Market and Housing

October saw the opening of an innovative development in Rotterdam, Netherlands which features a combination of uses found nowhere else in the world. The innovative design includes the Netherlands’ first indoor covered market hall, which is enveloped by a 230-unit apartment building. In addition to the covered market with 100 vendor stalls, the property contains space for restaurants, a supermarket and underground parking.

Markthal in Rotterdam

It was designed by Dutch firm MVRDV, which was among the wave of “Superdutch” architects that emerged in the Netherlands in the 1990s. Despite being enclosed, the market space feels open-aired due to the vast space enclosed by the 11-story building. Perhaps the most striking feature of the market is a vast mural along the market’s ceiling which is intended to help transform the cavity into a welcoming public space.

A view of the interior of the market hall, which is overlooked by windows of the apartment units. (Source: The Guardian)

The horse shoe shaped arch of the building consists of housing from the third to the eleventh floor, in total 102 apartments and 126 condo units. Each unit has an Continue Reading

Architecture & Design, Minneapolis / St. Paul Housing, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning

Completion of 26-Story Apartment Building Brings Luxury Living to Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall

The Nic on Fifth™ is the first high-rise luxury apartment development in downtown Minneapolis in nearly three decades. Recently completed by Minnetonka-based Opus Group, the 26-story luxury apartment building is located on the corner of Fifth Street and Nicollet Mall. It features 20,000 square feet of retail space and skyway levels with 253 apartment units above (including 26 penthouses). The building already started welcoming new residents since September 12 of this year and so far, it is more than 60 percent leased. The Opus Group adds that The Nic on Fifth™ reflects current and future needs of the urban center of more than 35,000 residents and aligns with the city of Minneapolis’ vision of expanding the downtown population to 70,000 by 2025.

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Twin Cities Real Estate Agent and UST MSRE Student Brandon Doyle Offers 3D Virtual Tours of His Listings

Brandon Doyle is a Twin Cities tech-savvy real estate agent currently pursuing a master of science in real estate at the University of St. Thomas. He is also a licensed salesperson with RE/MAX Results in Minnesota. His creativity in the real estate sector has been drawing more public attention toward his work. He was recently featured in a Star Tribune article for his innovative use of a 3D camera made by Matterport, a California-based startup that offers a major breakthrough in HQ, rapid 3D visualization of physical spaces.

Source: Star Tribune

Source: Star Tribune

Equipped with such a sophisticated camera, Doyle offers a breathtaking three-dimensional virtual tour experience of his listings. Aware of potential competitions that this technology would bring in once adopted by other Minnesota real estate agents, Doyle states “My focus is on real estate, and, at the end of the day, that’s my career and that’s where I’ll spend my time.”

UST Class Profile, UST Student Profile

UST MSRE Student Profile – Brandon Doyle, Realtor

The UST Opus College of Business Master’s in Real Estate program welcomes the new class to the 2014-2015 academic year!  Take a look at a brief snapshot of the students in this year’s class.

FULL NAME:  Brandon DoyleDoyle - Photo

What is your educational background and experience?
Bachelor of Science in Real Estate from St. Cloud State University.
Doyle Real Estate Team – RE/MAX Results  REALTOR

Why did you choose the MSRE program at UST?
I joined the MSRE program in order to network with other top professionals in the real estate industry.

What are your future career goals?
I’m currently growing my residential real estate team and am looking to expand into commercial, investments, and development.

As you enter the MSRE program, what aspect of the program are you most excited about?
I’m excited to have the opportunity to connect with other top professionals in the real estate industry, as well as MBA and Law students.

What do you enjoy most about the real estate industry?
 The opportunities within the real estate industry are endless, you’re able to create your own career path and are constantly interacting with other professionals.

What is your favorite non-real estate pastime and why?
I enjoy traveling and experiencing new cultures.

Commercial Real Estate, Industry News, Investment Real Estate, Real Estate Law, Real Estate Trends

Rezoning, new tax credits, economic shifts hit real estate law

Wells FargoThe folowing was reposted from an article written by the staff of the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

We asked leaders of the biggest real-estate law practice groups to tell us about mistakes clients make, cases they’re interested in and how the practice is changing. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Thomas Bray, shareholder at No. 1 Briggs and Morgan

What are the most common mistakes clients make in real estate law?“The two most common mistakes I see are first, clients assuming their property is free of title concerns, and failing to identify and resolve potential title issues before undertaking to sell or mortgage the property. The second common mistake is clients failing to appreciate the costs and disputes that can arise from an unfavorable or poorly drafted lease, and devoting inadequate time and attention to lease review and negotiation.”

What real estate cases issues in Minnesota are you following right now?“The 2006 amendments to the eminent domain statute made it significantly more difficult for municipalities to work with developers on certain types of redevelopment projects. If the economy continues to strengthen, we will be curious to see if municipalities will attempt to persuade the Legislature to expand that authority of municipalities to use eminent domain for redevelopment. We are also closely following St. Paul’s development of the zoning ordinances that will govern redevelopment of the Ford plant.”

Christopher Dolan, real estate group chairman at No. 2 (tie) Fredrikson & Byron

What areas of real estate law are growing and which are contracting? “We have a significant number of health care clients who have been active for the past few years in developing, leasing and purchasing real estate projects. We also have a strong corporate department that has been very active in the merger/acquisition markets. These deals often include a substantial amount of real estate that have kept many of our real estate attorneys busy over the past few years. As for markets that have declined, foreclosures and work-out matters declined as the real estate market improved. While the level of development work is getting much stronger than in the past, we have not yet reached the levels we experienced before the Great Recession.”

Todd Urness, shareholder at No. 2 (tie) Winthrop & Weinstine

What areas of real estate law are growing and which are contracting? “ The recently enacted state historic tax credit provides additional assistance for the rehabilitation of historically significant buildings. We have noticed keen interest in clients using this subsidy to preserve historic structures, particularly in the North Loop and Minneapolis riverfront. Also, the demand for luxury rental housing construction has created a lot of demand for legal services in that area. Some areas of real estate finance and development, such as loan securitizations and condominium development, have not participated in the recovery, and demand for these types of legal services continues to be depressed.”

Mark Hamel, real estate and land use department head at No. 9 Dorsey & Whitney

What real estate cases in Minnesota are you following right now? “I rarely follow real estate cases. Real estate cases are the domain of trial lawyers. I try to steer my clients as far from litigation as possible. I read real estate decisions after they are handed down by the courts.”