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Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Property Management

History of the Empire State Building: A Financial Flop for Nearly 20 years

By QuickLiquidity | Date: June 13, 2017 | Category: History

In the late-1920s, New York’s economy was booming and a competition to build the world’s tallest building was heating up. One man who was at the center of it all was Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation, who wanted to build the world’s tallest building as a monument to himself and American capitalism. Chrysler began construction of his monument, the Chrysler Building in 1928 at 405 Lexington Avenue. Despite the buildings name, the Chrysler Corporation did not pay for the construction of the building and never owned it. Instead Chrysler paid for it himself, with the hope of his children one day inheriting the world’s tallest building.

The architects of a competing building, 40 Wall Street, had devised a plan to prevent the Chrysler Building from ever becoming the world’s tallest building. Seeking the title for themselves, they planned 40 Wall Street to be 925 feet tall: 85 feet taller than the Chrysler Building had originally planned to be. When Chrysler found out about 40 Wall Street’s plans he decided to add a surprise 186-foot spire to his building. 40 Wall Street finished construction first in April of 1930, and held a celebration for being the tallest building in the world, without knowing that they were about to be surpassed. Less then two months later, the construction workers at the Chrysler Building hoisted 4 parts of the secret spire to the top and riveted them together in 90 minutes. At 1,046 feet high, the Chrysler Building became the world’s tallest building¹.

John J. Raskob of General Motors, a rival of Chryslers, also aspired to build the world’s tallest building. Raskob purchased 350 Fifth Avenue and began construction of the Empire State Building in March of 1930, only a few months before the Chrysler Building was completed. Raskob hired architect William F. Lamb, who finished the original drawings for the Empire State Building in only two weeks. In one of their first meetings Raskob had taken a jumbo pencil, stood it on its end and asked Lamb, “Bill, how high can you make it so that it won’t fall down?” Using over 3,400 laborers a day, the building went up in just over a year, well ahead of schedule and under budget at $40 million, which would be nearly $600 million today. During certain periods of construction, the frame grew a remarkable four-and-a-half stories a week. Not to be bested by the Chrysler Building, Raskob put the final cherry at the top of his building – a spire, making the Empire State Building a soaring 102 stories and 1,250 feet high. The Empire State Building was completed in May of 1931 and became the world’s tallest building, a title it would hold for nearly 40 years until the World Trade Center was completed in 1970. While successful in beating the Chrysler Building in height, the Empire State Building was far from being the success Raskob had hoped.

 

Full Article: http://www.quickliquidity.com/blog/history-of-the-empire-state-building-a-financial-flop-for-nearly-20-years.html

Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Real Estate Trends

Minnesota: Commercial Development Hub

A recent post by the New York Times blog, shows Minneapolis is among the leaders in urban development. One may ask, why and how does Minneapolis keep attracting people to the city? Simple, the city’s diverse population allows for vibrant restaurants and events, and municipal transportation creates accessibility to and from these destinations. Looking deeper, destinations and even housing were only possible through recent Minneapolis commercial development. You can see from almost any point in the city a construction crane or sign saying, “Opening Soon.”

Setting aside apartment and condo developments, the last 15 years has seen revitalization of major Minneapolis buildings. The old Sears building on Lake Street is now the Midtown Global Market which hosts over 1.5 million visitors a year, and the Foshay Tower is now the W-Hotel. Recently, the Minneapolis Armory, also on the national landmark registrar, looks to be renovated into a venue hosting large crowds as an event center. The Armory was recently sold for $6 million dollars to Nedal Yusuf Abul-Hajj who has submitted plans to convert the 80 year old building.

Architecture & Design, Commercial Lending, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Housing Trends

Finance & Commerce: Will Minnesota law change revive condo development?

Original Article

Date: June 7th, 2017

By: Brian Johnson

 

A change in Minnesota law that makes it more difficult for homeowner associations to sue over construction defect claims may or may not revive condominium and townhome construction. But builders, developers and real estate agents who pushed for the change say it’s a good start.

House File 1538, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton last week, requires homeowner associations to implement a preventive maintenance plan, go through mediation, and get the majority of association members on board before they can proceed with a construction defect lawsuit.

“None of us have a crystal ball as to whether any of this will change the market,” said Ryan Hamilton, associate legal counsel for the Minnesota Association of Realtors, which supported the bill. “It is an effort to improve the risk environment. We hope it does that.”

Builders and developers have been clinging to that hope for a while. In recent years, they have been hesitant to move forward with condo and townhome developments for fear of litigation, despite growing demand for such homes. Another barrier: Some still feel the sting of the condo bust in the previous decade, and the lenders do, too.

As Finance & Commerce has reported, state law allows a condo owner or association to sue project teams for “major construction defects” for up to 10 years after the unit or building was completed. The law was amended in 2010 to add commercial contractors to the list of liable partners. That 10-year statute still applies, said Minneapolis attorney Peter Coyle, who worked with the Housing Options Coalition.

Homebuilding has been on the upswing overall. More than 7,600 new multifamily units were added in the seven-county metro area in 2015, up from 2,329 in 2007, according to the Housing Options Coalition, which pushed for the new law. Coalition members include the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities and the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

But because of the liability issue, condos and townhomes represent a much smaller share of new housing units. Two years ago, 3 percent of new multifamily units were condos and townhomes, down from 23 percent in 2007, the coalition said.

Speaking to the demand side, Herb Tousley of the University of St. Thomas points specifically to downtown Minneapolis and the city’s North Loop.

Demand is solid for condos there, but “hardly any” units are for sale, said Tousley, director of real estate programs at St. Thomas. Still, he noted new ones are coming online, including developer Jim Stanton’s 374-unit Legacy Condos project at 121 12th Ave. S. in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

“I think you will see people moving in to fill that supply,” he predicted.

Abbey Bryduck, legislative director for AGC-Minnesota, hopes the change will encourage more development. In particular, the preventive maintenance requirement “goes a long way in making sure these buildings are maintained properly,” she said.

The bill, which was approved by a wide margin in the Legislature, had a Republican author in the House and a DFL author in the Senate.

Despite the bipartisan support, some language in the bill, including the requirement to get the majority of condo owners on board with a lawsuit, gives pause to David Hellmuth, an Edina attorney who represents homeowner associations.

Hellmuth said the requirement puts an “unnecessary restriction” on the association when legitimate claims need to be addressed.

A typical defense against construction defect claims is that the association didn’t do enough preventive maintenance. In other words defendants claim the association “caused their own problems,” he said.

“Whether or not that is true is debatable,” Hellmuth said.

Even so, housing industry advocates like David Siegel of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities expect to see more condo and townhome projects sprout up in the metro area and across the state with the changes in effect.

How far has townhome ownership declined?

A number of years ago, BATC held an event that showcased townhomes, condominiums and other for-sale multifamily properties. “We could not do any such thing today,” Siegel said, because the options are too limited.

“I think this legislation will lead to more condo development, and will similarly result in more townhome construction,” Siegel added.

The Builders Association of Minnesota also supported the legislation, said Remi Stone, BAM”s executive vice president.

Stone said it “improves the landscape” for builders and developers looking to produce condos and townhomes, which appeal to younger buyers just entering the market as well as empty-nesters. That goes for markets such as Rochester, St. Cloud and Duluth, as well as the Twin Cities, she said.

Stone hopes the statute changes will spur more development. “This is one feature,” she said. “We still have issues of financing, we still have regulatory costs. But there is demand. And where there’s demand, the market will go.”

Architecture & Design, Development, Twin Cities Real Estate, Urban Planning

Former Washburn-McReavy Funeral Home Development Remains Postponed

If you take a leisurely drive east over the 3rd Street bridge, you will see a familiar building. Familiar in the sense, the building is 90 years old. Your grandparents likely could have seen it as children. However, today unlike 90 years ago, fences surround the building with visible graffiti and construction equipment. It is the sight of one of many development projects in historic Northeast Minneapolis. 

The plan for the 90 year old building, previously occupied by Washburn-McReavy funeral home, was demolition to make way for a 40 story high rise. The project thus far is similar to the redevelopment efforts of Nye’s Polonaise which occupied the historic Harness shop and 112 Hennepin building. The Nye’s Polonaise project originally planned a high rise building, but in the end scrapped 24 of the original 30 floors to accommodate the neighborhood and Heritage Preservation Commission.

While it is not the same building as Nye’s, the project has been postponed now for almost a year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but recent history and potential project pressures may indicate serious alterations to the original plans.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2017/05/31/court-blocks-teardown-for-alatus-40-story-condo.html

 

Architecture & Design, Development

Expansion and Renovation at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN

Last week, The Opus Group officially announced the full completion of a two-phased project involving a 41,500-square-foot expansion and renovation at St. Catherine University’s Aimee and Patrick Butler Center for Sports and Fitness in St. Paul, MN. Phase I, which went from May 2014 to August of the same year, was specifically about renovating approximately 10,000 square feet in Fontbonne Hall, thus transforming existing gymnasium space into additional classrooms and connecting building with the adjacent Butler Center. Phase II, which began construction in fall of 2014 and ended in January 2015, created 31,500 square feet of new space inside the Butler Center, featuring separate varsity locker rooms and lounge space, a cardio room with fitness equipment, a dance studio and a one-story, multipurpose training center and field house. In addition, The Opus Group redesigned the primary point of entry and also added an elevator in order to enhance both accessibility and security.

St. Catherine University’s Aimee and Patrick Butler Center for Sports and Fitness in St. Paul, MN (Source: The Opus Group)

St. Catherine University’s Aimee and Patrick Butler Center for Sports and Fitness in St. Paul, MN (Source: The Opus Group)

The ahead-of-schedule completion of phase II enabled St. Catherine University’s students, faculty and athletic department officials to have access to the new facilities right in time for the spring semester. Satisfied by the work results, St. Catherine University’s vice president and chief financial officer Tom Rooney stated “A strong collaborative working relationship between Opus and St. Kate’s was the key to reaching our goal of improving and creating new spaces in this nine million dollar project, which benefits our entire campus community”.

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

Shanghai-tower_800

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.

Kingdom_Tower_360

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 http://urbanland.uli.org/planning-design/rising-towers-escalate-need-faster-lifts/?utm_source=uli&utm_medium=eblast&utm_campaign=120114

 

 

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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Architecture & Design, Commercial Real Estate, Green Building, Office Real Estate, Real Estate Trends, Think Outside The Box, Twin Cities Real Estate

Shipping Container Building Proposed for Minneapolis North Loop

A unique office building to be constructed of shipping containers has been proposed for a small site in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. The project is being developed by Akquracy, a Minneapolis-based marketing firm that will be the primary tenant for the office space. Its located just blocks from Target Field, near two other recent creative office developments in the Ford Center and the new Be The Match headquarters building.

Steelcase

The building will be about 18,000 square feet, consisting of office space and a small café/restaurant space with outdoor seating. The design involves fifty shipping containers, each 75 feet in length. The containers will be stacked three levels high, with a portion of the building elevated over a public plaza. To minimize foundation piling due soil conditions on site, one triangular half of the building will sit on top of an existing underground parking structure, while the other half is shifted one level upwards. The lifting of half the building allows for the creation of covered plaza space and opens up the street corner.

The developer for this project commissioned New York-based architectural firm LOT-EK to design the building. The firm is known for its use of “up-cycling,” or repurposing unique materials in order to create unique designs and build sustainably. Shipping containers have become an increasing popular building material in recent years, having been used for everything from small homes to multifamily and office buildings.

Architecture & Design

Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (KA) Completes $73 Million High School in Alexandria, MN

The beginning of the 2014-15 school year couldn’t be any better for the Alexandria School District in Alexandria, MN. Just in time, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (KA) has completed a $73 million and 280,000-square-foot senior high school for the district.

The new high school commons (Source: REJournals.com)

The new high school commons (Source: REJournals.com)

Designed by Cuningham Group Architects to be a flexible learning environment, the new high school will house 1,400 students and replace the district’s Jefferson High School which was initially built in 1957. Speaking of flexibility, Trevor Peterson, director of business services for the district, adds “Not knowing what education is going to look like five years from now or 15 years from now, we needed to make the building adaptable”.

Architecture & Design, Business Valuation, Commercial Real Estate

Minneapolis Has Already Surpassed the 1 Million Mark in Construction Projects for 2014

Based on “the total valuation of building permits in Minneapolis since 2000” posted by Star Tribune, as of August 14, 2014, Minneapolis already surpassed the $1 billion mark in construction projects for this year. With $1.211 billion in construction projects so far, the city just exceeded the $1 billion mark for the third consecutive time since 2000. About half of this year’s total valuation so far came from the construction of Vikings Stadium ($241 million) and Downtown East apartments and office tours located on 550 S 4th Street, 600 S 4th Street, 510 S 4th Street, and 640 S 4th Street (All valued at $219 million).

Architects rendering of 'Downtown East' - development on Star Tribune site, next to new Vikings stadium " gameday aerial view' (Source: Star Tribune)

Architects rendering of ‘Downtown East’ – development on Star Tribune site, next to new Vikings stadium
” gameday aerial view’ (Source: Star Tribune)