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New Members of Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Announced

The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame, established in 2010 by the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business, will add three new members in a morning ceremony Thursday, Nov. 5th, at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

Members of the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame are chosen for their outstanding business performance, high standards of ethics and community activities. The three new members

Dan DolanWells Fargo

For more than 50 years, Dan Dolan has pursued a career in real estate. He was a leader in improving the professional and ethical standards in real estate and was an early promoter and employer of women in real estate sales. His real estate developments include the Evergreen Community, an upscale residential development in Woodbury; and the Oakdale Crossing Business Park.

Throughout his career, Dolan has been actively involved in boards and fundraising, including the merger of Cretin and Durham high schools, fund raising for the University of St. Thomas, and serving as King Boreas XLII in the 1978 St. Paul Winter Carnival. He may be eligible for retirement, but Dolan is just as passionate as ever about real estate development and continues to receive offers of employment in the industry.

Larry Laukka  

Since 1962, Larry Laukka has actively served in all  aspects of the real estate industry, but primarily in the building and development business. Laukka’s experience has included the design, development, financing, construction and marketing of more than 6,000 dwelling units and home sites throughout the greater Twin Cities community, and the management of approximately 3,000 owner-occupied townhomes and condominiums. His leadership roles include president and director of the Minneapolis Builders Association (MBA), senior life director of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and founder of the Minnesota Housing Institute (MHI), which served the real estate industry’s state-wide needs to commercially promote home ownership and legislative action.

In the 1960s, Laukka worked with The Near Northside Re-Development Agency, a community based organization established to guide the redevelopment of the near north side of Minneapolis. The agency focused on the growing need for market rate housing and led to the development of single-family housing, hailed as “The Suburb in the City.”  After being approached by Governer Wendell Anderson, Laukka helped develop the State Housing Finance Agency and chaired the Minnesota State Housing Code Advisory Board until a state-wide building code was in place. Most recently, he served on the Fairview Southdale Hospital board of trustees and chaired the development of its new Carl N. Platou Emergency Center opened August 2015.

James Solem

For more than 40 years, James Solem provided outstanding leadership and tireless work in real estate finance and public policy, supporting the development of rental and ownership housing for low and moderate income households. He was the executive director of the Minnesota State Planning Agency from 1970 to 1978, and served as commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency from 1978 to 1994 – a position he was appointed to five times by three Minnesota governors. From 1994 to 2000, Solem was the regional administrator for the Metropolitan Council, leading the long-range planning for transit, wastewater, parks and community development in the seven-county metropolitan area.  From 2000 – 2006, at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), he led a project to bring new ideas to the issues of affordable housing and regional growth.

Now retired from the Metropolitan Council, Solem is active with consulting and volunteer service. He is chairman of the board of the Community Reinvestment Fund and of the boards of Common Bond Housing Corporation and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. Throughout his career, Solem demonstrated an exceptional knowledge of operations and governmental polices, brought a high level of ethical standards to the real estate industry and championed those most in need.

The program is open to the public and the cost is $60. More information is available at

To register use the following link:

The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame now has 30 members. Previously named were:

  • 2010: Tony Bernardi, Lloyd Engelsma, Gerald Rauenhorst, William Reiling, Jim Ryan and Sam Thorpe Sr.
  • 2011: Robert Hoffman, Darrel Holt, Bernard Rice, Emma Rovick and five members of the Dayton family: Bruce and the late Douglas, Donald, Kenneth and Wallace.
  • 2012: David Bell, Robert Boblett Sr., Philip Smaby and Boyd Stofer.
  • 2013: Leonard Bisanz, Helen Brooks, Thomas Crowley, M.A. Mortenson Sr. and Kenneth Stensby.
  • 2014: George Karvel Ph.D., Cyril “Cy” Kuefler Sr., Jim Stanton


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.


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.

Green Building, Housing, Real Estate Programs, Residential Real Estate, Think Outside The Box, UST Program News

House Benefitting UST Real Estate Programs Featured in Spring 2014 Parade of Homes

The house constructed to benefit UST Real Estate Programs will be one stop on the 2014 Spring Parade of Homes tour.  The two-story home, located at 6443 McCauley Terrace in Edina, includes MN Green Path Energy Efficient features.  Other showcases include a sports court, third-floor loft, media room, owners’ suite, junior suite, five bedrooms and six baths. The home is nestled on a quiet, wooded cul-de-sac on Arrowhead Lake.

6443 McCauley Terrace, Edina

6443 McCauley Terrace, Edina

The general contractor on the project is JMS Custom Homes who is also a major sponsor, donating its services to complete the home on time and on budget. Many other donors and sponsors have donated to the project both with in-kind gifts and building materials, including members of UST’s Real Estate Advisory Board. Sponsors to date include Crown Bank, Edina Realty, JMS Custom Homes, Marvin Windows and Doors, Shenehon Company, Alexander Design Group, Metropolitan Pipe and Supply, Outdoor Designs, Builders Association of the Twin Cities, Kraus Anderson, Barton Sand and Gravel, Cemstone, Muska Lighting, Regalwood Cabinets, Veit, Warners Stellian, and Ziegler.

Additionally, two UST undergraduate real estate students are working as interns with JMS Custom Homes during the construction and sale of a single-family home. These students
are receiving valuable experience overseeing the homebuilding process from start to finish.

The list price of the home is $1,695,000. The difference between the sale price of the home and the cost to build the home will be donated to support scholarships for St. Thomas students enrolled in the university’s real estate degree programs.

Custom Kitchen

Custom Kitchen

The Spring 2014 Parade of Homes is open March 1-30, Thursdays through Sundays noon to 6pm and The Remodelers Showcase is open March 28 from 1 to 7pm and March 29-30 from noon to 6pm. For more information, visit the Parade of Homes site.

Green Building, Real Estate Programs, Residential Real Estate, Think Outside The Box, Uncategorized, UST Program News, UST Real Estate in the News

Proceeds From Home Under Construction in Edina Intended to Benefit UST Real Estate Education Programs

Construction has begun in Edina on a single-family house that will be sold to raise money for real estate education programs at the University of St. Thomas and serve as a learning tool for undergraduate and graduate students during the fall 2013 semester.

The house at 6443 McCauley Terrace, southeast of Highways 169 and 212-62, will overlook the west side of Arrowhead Lake. JMS Custom Homes, whose owner Jeff Schoenwetter is a member of the St. Thomas Real Estate Advisory Board, is the builder, and the Alexander Design Group of Wayzata is the architect.

Representatives from St. Thomas, JMS Custom Homes, and the UST Real Estate Advisory Board break ground on the home in Edina.

Representatives from St. Thomas, JMS Custom Homes, Edina Realty and the UST Real Estate Advisory Board break ground on the home in Edina.

Crown Bank of Edina will provide all construction funding to JMS for the 5,900-square-foot house, which will have four bedrooms and five bathrooms.

JMS and Alexander Design Group are donating services. Other expected donors include Edina Realty, which will market the house and provide financing for qualified purchasers; Shenehon Co., appraisal services; Fabyanske Westra Hart & Thomson, legal services; and various subcontractors.

Continue reading on the St. Thomas Newsroom.

Green Building, Industrial Real Estate

Rent Premium for Green Warehouses? It Depends on Local Politics

A 2011 study on the political economy of “green” industrial warehouses found that local political ideology plays a role in rent and occupancy levels. The research was funded by NAIOP and looked at 20,000 industrial warehouse properties across the nation. The study authors found that the effect of environmental certification (such as LEED or Energy Star) on rents and occupancy for industrial warehouses was contingent upon local politics. “Green” certified warehouses in politically liberal areas received rent and occupancy premiums, renting for 10% more than their counterparts. However, environmentally certified warehouses in conservative-leaning areas rented for 20% lower and had 25% higher vacancy than non-certified competing properties in the same area.

The results suggest that environmental amenities in real estate are not valued solely for monetary factors, such as their impact on energy bills. Instead, green features in industrial warehouses appear to be valued (or not) just as much for political purposes, marketing, or other factors. The study also highlights the importance of knowing your market. The authors note that the pattern they found may not hold true in other real estate sectors, and that results might change over time as environmental certification programs grow in popularity.

Click here to view the study article in its entirety. 

Affordable Housing, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Green Building, Industry News, Multifamily, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Think Outside The Box, Urban Planning

Will Micro Apartments Go Macro?

Several urban job centers have committed to building tiny, affordable housing units.

There is a new multi-family housing trend beginning to appear in some of the higher priced housing markets around the country.  Ultra small “mirco-apartments” are one answer that can make apartments affordable to young renters in these high priced areas.  Will this trend find it’s way to the Minneapolis / St. Paul Market?  This article by John Caulfield recently appeared in BUILDER

From: BUILDER 2012

By John Caulfield 

An 11,775-square-foot building with 23 micro apartments is being wedged onto a 3,750-square-foot lot between two other buildings in San Francisco’s SoMa district.

Construction has begun on an infill project at 38 Harriet Street in San Francisco that its developer, builder, and module supplier believe could determine whether micro apartments remain a highly publicized curiosity or are seen as legitimate housing alternatives for young urban professionals seeking cheaper, greener, and walkable living spaces.

“There are a lot of eyes on this project, a lot of interest,” says Naomi Porat, president and co-founder of Zeta Communities, whose factory in Sacramento, Calif., is close to completing the 12- by 65-foot modules that will be used to construct an 11,775-square-foot four-story wood-framed building squeezed onto a 3,750-square-foot lot in this city’s South of Market Street (SoMa) district. That building will contain 23 micro apartments measuring around 300 square feet each, with nine-foot ceilings, kitchens and baths, washers and dryers, and multipurpose built-ins for storage and workspaces that can convert to sleeping areas.

These apartments reflect a “Smart Space” concept that the project’s developer, Panoramic Interests, created with a team of architects and designers to address the needs of millenials poring into urban job centers where affordable housing is perennially in short supply.

“In San Francisco, 8,000 new tech workers have been hired this year alone,” says Patrick Kennedy, the owner of Panoramic Interests, to illustrate the potential demand for micro apartments. His firm test-drove its Smart Space design with a 160-square-foot prototype it built in a warehouse in Berkeley, Calif., and housed an MIT grad student for three weeks who provided feedback about what he thought did and didn’t work.

Kennedy told the San Francisco Chronicle that prospective residents of micro apartments are looking for a “launching space as they get established.” In an interview with Builder, he described micro apartments as “a return to more collaborative communal living.” He observed that millenials view apartments in the context of a lifestyle that is more socially and technologically defined. “They’ll trade 100 square feet of space for 100 more megabytes of Internet,” he quips.

And with monthly rents expected to start at $1,500 (with five of the 23 apartments being offered at a below-market rate of $910 per month), these micro apartments should be available for significantly less than the $2,000-plus per month an under-500-square-foot studio apartment fetches, on average, in San Francisco.

Read the entire article:

John Caulfield is senior editor for Builder magazine.


The 300-square-foot apartments will feature 9-foot ceilings, kitchens and baths, storage, and flexible built-ins.

Panoramic Interests

These renderings show how renters can manipulate the space inside the apartments to turn a sleeping area into a work or eating space.

  • Panoramic InterestsLarge windows and high ceilings give these tiny spaces a more capacious feeling.

Development, Green Building, Real Estate Trends, UST Real Estate in the News

Anderson Student Center wins ‘LEED gold’ from Green Building Council

This post is from the University of St. Thomas Bulletin Today.

The generous use of insulation was just one of many steps that led to gold-level LEED certification for the Anderson Student Center.

The University of St. Thomas’ new Anderson Student Center has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The university in 2008 adopted a policy of pursuing green, sustainable and energy-efficient strategies for all new building projects; this marks the first time, however, that it submitted a building for LEED certification.

“I was absolutely thrilled to hear the news,” said Dr. Mary Ann Ryan, associate vice president for student affairs. “And I am still thrilled. It reflects the commitment that our campus community, and in particular our president, Father Dennis Dease, has to environmental sustainability.”

Dease, along with college and university presidents from across the country, in 2008 signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

LEED certification is granted at four levels that vary based on the number of environmentally conscious efforts that go into a facility’s design and use. To earn one of the four levels of certification, a building is awarded points in each of six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

Gold is the second-highest of the four LEED certification levels. “As the design process progressed, we had an idea about how many points the Anderson Student Center would earn in each category,” Ryan explained. The university’s initial goal was silver. “As the building neared completion, we thought we’d be close to gold, but we could not be sure until we got the official word.”

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Development, Economics, Government Policy, Green Building, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Think Outside The Box, Urban Planning

A Sense of Place: Spaces Designed For People

This is a reposting of a blog entry that appeared recently on The Cornerstone Group blog(see link below).  It presents an interesting look at how project planners, architects, and developers can make cities a better place a better place to live.

Imagine a perfect day in your city or hometown.  What does it look like?  Where would you go?  How would you get there?  What would you do?  Who might you see along the way?

Place making, an evolving multi-disciplinary approach to planning, design, and management of public spaces, seeks to transform average spaces into high-quality places where people can relax, interact, collaborate, and participate.

After years of designing cities for the automobile, astute planners and developers are once again designing for people.

Cornerstone staff recently attended a Project for Public Spaces (PPS) event, where instructors gave participants insights about how great public spaces take shape.   

“Value created by the public realm will drive the success of a city.”

“How do we get from inadequate to extraordinary?”  The process starts with listening to the community, because neighborhood residents truly are the experts.  They know what is needed and what will or won’t work.

New York City has witnessed the redesign of several public spaces for greater pedestrian visibility and accessibility, which promotes increased activity and improves levels of public safety and comfort.  Setting back corners from the street edge, away from cars, can be an important aspect to the design.

Recognizing that cities and developers alike are strapped for cash, PPS advises for the “lighter, quicker, cheaper” approach.  Adding simple elements to plazas such as moveable furniture encourages people to customize a space for their specific use and group size, enabling collaboration.

Programming public spaces with a variety of activities from markets to fitness and games to performance arts and crafts
brings life to a place and attracts even more people to a neighborhood.  In New York City, Bryant Park was formerly home to several drug-dealing gangs and underwent a major renovation.  Committed to change, business owners supported redevelopment of the plaza through a special taxing district and created a more welcoming, accessible design, with the park booked morning, noon, and night with activities for all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Candy Chang, an artist and urban planner, recently spoke at the Walker Art Center and shared her vision for community spaces as inspiring places where citizens are both contemplative and engaged.  One of Chang’s most successful projects, a wall that encourages passerby’s to fill in the blank answering the question “Before I die I want to…” has expanded to cities on several continents.  A “Before I die” wall launched in Minneapolis in the Whittier neighborhood just hours before Chang’s arrival and was completely filled by eager citizens on the first day.

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Affordable Housing, Commercial Real Estate, Development, Economics, Government Policy, Green Building, Real Estate Trends, Senior Housing, Student Housing, Urban Planning, UST Class Profile

The New Demographic (Hint: 10,000 Baby Boomers Retire Daily)

10,000 Retiring Baby Boomers every day.  Every Day, for the next 20 years.  Locally and nationally, even globally, this is our new demographic normal – an aging population with fewer and what baby boomers would have you believe, “less talented” workers to replace them.

United States birth rate (births per 1000 population). The red segment from 1946 to 1964 is the postwar baby boom.

Bigger than huge, this is a monumental generational shift that will affect numerous aspects of our lives – opportunities, obligations, and financials.  State Economist, Dr. Stinson, recently spoke on the new normal in his Economic Outlook, noting  “As a significant portion of our [Minnesota’s] population ages, there is not much in the way of labor force growth to replace these individuals.”

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Green Building

Show off your Green! State Fair seeking applicants for 2012 Green Homes

Green Building - Eco Experience - MN State Fair

The State Fair, Eco Experience, is currently seeking applicants (extended deadline of February 17) of qualified organizations and businesses “to conceptualize, design, produce and deconstruct” Green Homes at the 2012 Eco Experience exhibit.  The State Fair’s Eco Experience venue (a partnership between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (PCA) Green Building Program and the Minnesota State Fair) has drawn hundreds of government, businesses, green building professionals, non-profits, and thousands of Minnesotans since its first year in 2006.

“The exciting part of the Eco Experience is how different it can be every year. In 2012 we are hoping to create a green building exhibit that inspires action and leads people to resources that make their home improvements a reality. It’s a fun project that brings together creative professionals to work together in new ways.”  Britt Gangeness with Eco Experience at the PCA tells UST.  Further enticing to potential exhibitors, Gangeness  notes,  “you’ll be be at the Fair every day can eat fair food 12 days in a row!” Continue Reading