Three new members were inducted into the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame at an awards breakfast this morning: Russ Nelson, an industry groundbreaker who was among the first to exclusively represent tenants; Jim Nelson, who helped spearhead the new US Bank Stadium; and Tom Holtz, a driving force behind industry giant CBRE.
The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame was established in 2010 by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Members of the Hall of Fame are chosen for their outstanding business performance, high standards of ethics, and community activities.
The annual event, held at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club, drew over 200 people including real estate professionals and friends and family members of the inductees. Robert J. Strachota, president of the real estate valuation firm Shenehon Company, acted as emcee and Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, was the keynote speaker. The awards were presented by Patrick Ryan, President and CEO of builder/developer Ryan Companies.
After the awards presentation and a brief video about each recipient, the event concluded with Herb Tousley, director of the Shenehon Center, presenting scholarships to five students, the winners of this year’s Boyd Stofer & Ken Stensby Real Estate Student Competition. The competition challenges undergraduate and graduate students to develop a business concept that has potential to become a viable, high-growth business or make a meaningful contribution to existing real estate companies. Scholarship recipients are current UST students Ethan Finger, Issac Kuehn, Charles Bird, Holly Spaeth and Matt Michalski.
About the Inductees
For nearly 40 years, Tom Holtz has played a pivotal role in developing CBRE into one of the world’s leading real estate services companies. He is personally credited with approximately $11 billion in investment transactions during a career that has touched every major Twin Cities building.
Holtz’s advice is sought by some of the most successful people in the industry, both in Minnesota and across the country. Colleagues praise his sharp intellect and unwavering ethical barometer. Lifelong friends laud Holtz as a deeply spiritual family man who has dedicated his support and leadership to many local and national organizations, including St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie and Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
Known as “the quiet leader that everyone listens to,” Jim Nelson has spent more than half a century in real estate advisory services, finance, and investment. He played a pivotal role in such transformative projects as the Midtown Exchange, the Walker Art Center expansion, and the new US Bank Stadium, and he is a valued counselor to the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the state of Minnesota, and the University of Minnesota, among others.
In addition to being the principal of Eberhardt Advisory, Nelson has served on numerous civic and industry boards, and he helped shape and guide the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. He is often praised for his devoted mentorship of real estate industry leaders across the state and the country.
Known for his energy, enthusiasm, and coveted book of connections, Russ Nelson helped shape the skylines of Minneapolis and St. Paul during his 35-year career. He recently retired from real estate and project management firm NTH, one of the first Twin Cities firms to exclusively represent tenants, which he cofounded in 1993.
Nelson is legendary for his devotion to the downtown Minneapolis core, including one of the largest land sales in the city’s history: the five-block StarTribune megadeal that launched the redevelopment of the Downtown East Commons. Just as legendary is his enthusiasm for serving the community, such as his recent role in helping Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s raise $8 million for its polar bear exhibit and Japanese garden.
About the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame
The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame honors, preserves and perpetuates the names and outstanding accomplishments of real estate leaders who have made significant contributions in real estate and demonstrated care and concern for improving their communities as business leaders.