Caryn Brooks – Real Estate Matters
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Caryn Brooks

Affordable Housing, Development, Executive Insight Series, Green Building, Historic Tax Credits, Multifamily, Real Estate Trends

Dominium Embarks on Transformational Historic Rehab Projects

pillsbury A Mill Stone Arch

The historic Pillsbury A-Mill site, as seen from the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis

After 40 years of successful affordable housing development, Dominium’s growth is stronger than ever.  With 15,000 units owned in 21 states, the Plymouth-based company is not only committed to affordable housing, but it is also raising the bar for transformational historic projects in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Mark Moorhouse, Senior Vice President and Project Partner, revealed Dominium’s elaborate plans for its upcoming projects at the Buzza building in Uptown Minneapolis, the iconic Pillsbury A-Mill site on the riverfront in downtown Minneapolis, and the Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul.

Pillsbury A-Mill

Schaefer Richardson worked on a redevelopment plan for the site for nearly a decade but ultimately the project wasn’t feasible, especially for the proposed use of 1500 units, mostly condos.  Dominium is taking a more conservative approach by developing less units initially (250) and designating them as affordable artist lofts.  Moorhouse explains that neighborhood groups are more receptive to affordable artist housing than typical affordable housing, since artists are a special asset to the community.
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Green Building, Uncategorized

Designing and Managing Buildings to Encourage Sustainable Behavior

As commercial real estate professionals we are all familiar with the concept of green building, designing a building recyclingto consume less natural resources and provide a healthier atmosphere for occupants and the community.  But the wild card has always been the building occupants – their attitudes, reactions, and daily habits shape the ultimate performance of a building, even if it’s engineered to the highest standards.

Christie Manning, a professor of Environmental Studies at Macalester College, with assistance from UST Psychology Professor Elise Amel conducted studies funded by the MnPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) to determine exactly what factors influence whether or not individuals choose sustainable behaviors (recycling, reducing energy consumption, biking to work, etc.)

What she found is that social cues play an important role in our emotional responses, which in turn dictate whether or not we will perform a specific behavior.  In other words, even though we may rationalize a decision one way (“Sure, I think recycling is important so that we can use less natural resources”), ultimately our behavior may not reflect that rationale (“I don’t want to wander around this convention hall with my Coke can searching for a recycling receptacle”).

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Executive Insight Series, Multifamily, Property Management, Senior Housing, Uncategorized, Upcoming UST Events

Dominium to share Multifamily Insights on December 6th

dominiumlogoMark Moorhouse of Dominium, the Midwest’s premier owner and developer of affordable, luxury, and senior multifamily real estate will speak at the University of St. Thomas on Tuesday, December 6 at 5:45 p.m.  This is the last event for 2011 in the Real Estate Executive Insight Series.  This event is free and open to the public but please register here.

As senior vice president and project partner for Dominium, Mark Moorhouse is responsible for development and acquisition activity. Since joining the firm in 1996, Moorhouse has played an integral role in the financing of over $140 Million of apartments and has helped raise in excess of $40 Million in equity.

Green Building, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Uncategorized

MSRE Development Students Analyze the Impacts of Sustainability

Graduate stGreenLeavesudents in the Master of Science in Real Estate program have the opportunity to complete hands-on projects catered towards their individual interests in real estate throughout each semester.  In addition to compiling a development site plan for REAL 770, students in Dr. Tom Musil’s development class are researching and analyzing the effects of sustainability on the market and development trends.

Several students cited the recent study conducted by CB Richard Ellis and the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego.  The study which began in 2009, now in its 3rd phase, tracks a portion of CBRE’s portfolio, 150 office buildings, to report the impacts of sustainability measures, such as LEED certification, on building occupants, energy consumption, and NOI.  You can access information from these reports as well as read recaps of CBRE’s sustainability webinars here. recently released its own report entitled “Green Building Market and Impact Report 2011,” available for download here.  Beyond LEED, students are looking at the impact of new technologies on commercial real estate and housing, including net-zero energy communities.

Commercial Real Estate, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized

Building Value with Distressed Commercial Properties

Please join us for the final Executive Insight Series event for 2011 on Tuesday, December 6th, with Mark Moorhouse of Dominium.

Mark Reiling, Senior Vice President and Principal of Cassidy Turley, spoke at UST shortly after the NAIOP 2011 Office Market Report event last Tuesday.  Here are some highlights from the NAIOP Meeting:

  • The Twin Cities office market is stableNAIOP_Nov_Program_skyline_www.
  • Assets performing well include class A properties in the Western suburbs and Downtown Minneapolis.
  • Slight rent growth can be anticipated in Downtown Minneapolis.  No rent growth is forecasted for office space anywhere else in the Twin Cities.
  • Class B buildings will need to be repositioned to remain competitive.

In Reiling’s talk, he highlighted several examples of distressed commercial properties that have been purchased by investors and repositioned successfully.  Examples include:

Eagan Promenade: This former Ethan Allen store was purchased by developer Stonehenge who reduced the size of the building and repositioned it to capture $30 PSF net rents.  Stonehenge sold the building for $336 PSF, netting profits estimated at $1 million.

Eagan Promenade

Eagan Promenade was successfully redeveloped and sold by Stonehenge in 2010.

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Development, Executive Insight Series, Multifamily, Student Housing, Uncategorized

From Retail to Multifamily: A Success Story for Doran Companies


The Dinkydome was renovated by Doran Companies and converted into loft-style apartments.

Kelly Doran knows retail.  He knows it so well, in fact, that he recognized when retail would begin to decline, and he had the vision to exit retail development and shift his focus to multifamily before it was a hot commodity.  The question that resounded with Doran, was how to apply decades of retail experience to a new product, multifamily?  “What are shoppers looking for?” asks Doran.  “Convenience, security, and a pleasant atmosphere.”  These factors can make or break even the best retail centers.  Coincidentally, these happen to be the same attributes that urban renters are looking for in their new homes.

Applying this philosophy to his student housing projects near the University of Minnesota in Dinkytown, Minneapolis, Doran has brought online hundreds of new high-end market rate units in the last several years.  When Doran first recognized the need for student housing, he pursued the Dinkydome site.  Not listed on any historic registry, Doran figured the project would be a relatively straight-forward venture.  However, like many development projects in recent years, there were entitlement challenges, lawsuits, and at one point, financing was completely unavailable.

In late 2008, soon after purchasing all 3 parcels for the project which included both the Dinkydome site and the future site of Sydney Hall Apartments, Doran’s 9 million dollar loan disappeared, and he had already invested 3 million.  “We sat around and drank for a couple of months,” jokes Doran, “Then we had to find a solution.” The size of the Sydney Hall building was scaled back from a high rise to a 6-story midrise building to cut costs.  The Dinkydome, which before the recession had potential interest from the University as office space, was converted into 2-story loft-style homes.

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Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Tim Lawrence, Site Selection Specialist & Retail Real Estate Broker

TimLawrenceWith expertise in geography and location analysis, Tim Lawrence helps retailers and developers find the perfect site.  Now, Tim is expanding upon his real estate knowledge in the MSRE program.

What is your educational background and professional experience?

I majored in Geography and English at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.  Because of my interest in Location Analysis, one of my professors recommended a master’s program at UNC-Charlotte.  I completed the MA in Geography at UNC-Charlotte, a program focused on Location Analysis, particularly retail location.

I became interested in under-served retail markets, particularly inner-city retail potential.  While in that program, I was hired to complete research projects for two wonderful companies that were on the brink of rapid expansion into under-served markets.  At Supervalu, I built a sales forecasting tool for potential new Save-A-Lot store locations.  Supervalu was one of the first retail chains to conduct detailed market analysis studies decades before I had the opportunity to work for the same department.

After that, at Family Dollar, I interned with the real estate department.  I conducted a customer-spotting project to determine trade area parameters.  Using this information, we were able to create a model to use for evaluating prospective sites.  Family Dollar soon hired me as a Real Estate Manager, a position I held for six years, both in Charlotte and the Twin Cities.  I found this to be an excellent opportunity to gain retail real estate experience and exposure to dozens of retail markets throughout the country to complement my background in retail market planning and analysis.

Currently, I operate my own commercial real estate brokerage, Terrager Corporation, with a focus on location consulting for developers and retailers.

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Executive Insight Series, Uncategorized

Mark Reiling of Cassidy Turley to speak on Tuesday, November 15th

With over 186 million square feet of multi-tenant office and industrial space, a diverse economic base, and the highest number of Fortune

Mark Reiling, Senior Vice President and Principal, Cassidy Turley

Mark Reiling, Senior Vice President and Principal, Cassidy Turley

500 companies per capita, the Twin Cities offers significant opportunities in the commercial real estate market.  Explore the challenges and opportunities in the commercial real estate investment market with Mark Reiling, Senior Vice President and Principal of Cassidy Turley.

During his 30 year career, Reiling has been involved in nearly every aspect of commercial real estate including brokerage, consultation, expert witness testimony, selling and leasing commercial properties, asset management, investor reporting, construction and permanent financing, market research, development, historic renovation and syndication. He has been an advisor to private and institutional investment property owners for their asset management plans and disposition strategies.

Reiling served as president of Colliers Towle Real Estate, one of Cassidy Turley’s predecessor companies, from 1987 to 2002. Operations included brokerage, property and facility management, appraisal, research and consulting services, and mortgage banking prior to 1994. Reiling started The Towle Report in 1984, the first comprehensive real estate report on the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. He continues to provide content to the report, now the Cassidy Turley Minneapolis Research Report. While serving as president of Towle Properties Inc. from 1983 to 1987, Reiling started the real estate investment company which has acquired, removed, and/or developed over $200 million of land, office, industrial, parking, housing and retail properties.

The Real Estate Executive Insights Series is presented by the Opus College of Business MSRE program. This series invites speakers from the real estate industry to provide valuable information and discussion about hot topics and current trends. This is a free program and is open to the public.  Please register here to attend this event.

Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Henry Ndawula

HenryPicWhat is your professional experience and education?

I graduated from St. Henry’s High School Masaka (Uganda) in 2005; I then joined the University of St. Thomas Minnesota in spring 2006. I graduated in fall 2010 with majors in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Real Estate. When I graduated, I never wanted to work in any business sector other than Real Estate. I then joined the Masters in Real Estate program starting fall 2010. Currently I’m in my last year through the program and expecting to graduate fall 2012.

My working experience has been short but exciting. I worked in the Minneapolis campus bookstore for a few years. In the summer of 2008, I had an opportunity to work as an intern student at Premier Banks in Maplewood which was another exciting and adventurous experience for me. In 2009, I was lucky to get my much desired internship in real estate at Shenehon Company Minneapolis which I’m still doing up to now. It has been a great learning experience working with commercial and business appraisers.

Why did you choose the MSRE program at UST?

After my graduation in fall 2010, I was interested in the real estate business, since I had my internship with Shenehon Company and an undergraduate degree in real estate. I wanted to further explore what real estate as a business has to offer me. I came to this decision after talking to a couple of people from the MSRE department, talked to Susie and Dr. Tom Hamilton who really helped me very much in my desire to do the program. Since I had graduated from St. Thomas, I pretty much knew the system and even the professor, so it was not a hard decision to choose this program.

What was your career goal when you entered the program and how has it evolved since?

My career goal was to learn as much as I can from the program and see how I can apply all the knowledge attained into the real life business. This goal has not changed; I’m just eager to get the most I can from the program.

My goal is to start a real estate business in Uganda, dealing in development, property/asset management and investment.

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Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame, Uncategorized

New Interactive Display showcases MN Real Estate Hall of Fame Members

Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Interactive Kiosk on the Skyway Level in Schulze Hall

Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Interactive Kiosk on the Skyway Level in Schulze Hall

The next time you are on campus, stop by the new interactive kiosk on the skyway level in Schulze Hall.  This high-tech display showcases the unique stories of each Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame member.  Learn how local industry leaders shaped our modern real estate landscape.