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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 http://www.stthomas.edu/centers/shenehon/minnesota-real-estate-hall-of-fame/

To register use the following link:    https://webapp.stthomas.edu/eventregistration/ust/register.jsp?eventcrn=B1973

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


Commercial Real Estate, Economics, Industry News, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Office Real Estate, Real Estate Trends

Jones Lang LaSalle: The highest office rents in the world

Posted on October 30, 2013 by


by Dan Rafter

Where are the most expensive cities to set up an office? Jones Lang LaSalle recently took a look at this question and came up with the 12 most expensive office locations. Only two of these locations, surprisingly enough, are in the United States, Menlo Park in Silicon Valley, which checks in at fifth place, and Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, which came in at seventh place on the list.

Colin Dyer, president and chief executive officer of Jones Lang LaSalle, wrote about the list recently on his Influencer blog, finding some common themes among expensive office locations. The priciest spots are typically in the premier districts of global commerce and financial centers, well-connected internationally, home to high-value talent and high-net-worth tenants and the site of large numbers of global corporate headquarters.

Pricy office locations also tend to be located in supply-constrained areas, something that gives them an aura of exclusivity. They are close, too, to clients, travel, transportation and cultural and retail amenities.

St. James in London’s West End topped Jones Lang LaSalle’s list, boasting office rents of $194 a square foot. The Central area of Hong Kong — home to high-class hotels and luxury retail — comes in second, with office rents of $162 a square foot.

Finance Street in Beijing comes in third ($137 a square foot), with Rue du Rhone in Geneva coming in fourth ($116) and Menlo Park in Silicon Valley ($111) rounding out the top five.

Commercial Real Estate, Green Building, Industry News, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Uncategorized

Energy Summit Reveals Cost Saving Strategies

Everyone is increasingly feeling the pressure of rising energy costs, especially those who own and manage property.  The second annual Minnesota Real Estate Journal Commercial Building Energy Summit offered insights into how property owners and managers can take easy steps to decrease energy expenses, regaining control of their buildings and their bottom line.energy_150x150

Many buildings can achieve a 15% reduction in consumption without any capital investment.  According to Priscilla Koeckeritz of Energy Print, Inc., a St. Paul based company that provides energy management software and services, energy expenses are rising faster than any other building operating expense, at a rate of 6-8% annually.  The 5 million existing commercial buildings in the US spend $200 billion annually to power their facilities.  Participation in energy-reduction programs like EPA’s Energy Star can easily result in energy savings of 30%, reducing total energy costs from an average of $2.33 per square foot to $1.63 per square foot.

Conference attendees indicated that they have spent more time tracking energy data in the past year than ever before.  Koeckeritz explains that “energy cannot be managed, if energy information is not measured.” Energy Print provides a tool for owners and asset managers that automatically collects consumption data from utilities and normalizes it based on weather conditions.  Energy usage can then be compared historically for a property or amongst an entire portfolio, so that investors can target capital expenditures towards their worst performing assets.  The “3 C’s of cost, consumption, and carbon” for an entire portfolio can be tracked and reduced from a user-friendly website. Koeckeritz cites that in addition to reducing expenses, building owners who market their efforts properly can see additional return in the form of increased occupancy rates, typically around 4.1% higher for LEED certified buildings and 3.6% for Energy Star rated buildings.
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Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized, Upcoming Industry Events, Upcoming UST Events

Block E: A Deal Alatus Could Not Refuse

blocke7The short history of the building currently occupying the 600 block of Hennepin, know commonly as Block E,  in downtown Minneapolis is a staggeringly accurate metaphor paralleling the last decade of the greater real estate market. According to Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, the original cost of developing the site in 2001 (less the $36.25 million spent on the Graves Hotel which did not change ownership) was $105.75 million. When Alatus Development purchased the development in July, 2010 they paid a paltry $14 million, or roughly 13.23% of the original price. At the risk free rate of return (based on the 10 year T-bill which average 4.42% over the period) the investment in Block E would be worth $162.973 million, resulting in a savings of $148.973 million for Alatus in todays value. This investment appears to be a no brainer, but it is not without risk. Since opening, Block E has lost most of the anchor businesses that originally signed leases in the space including: Borders Books, Game Works, The Hard Rock Cafe, Applebees, and Hooters. The space which Game Works and Borders occupied is still vacant, presenting Alatus and Bob Lux, the lead developer on the project, with significant challenges in their attempt to turn the site into a successful retail operation. That said, the final price tag for the site was too attractive to pass on.

One significant factor that helped persuade Mr. Lux to move forward with the deal is the 550 heated underground parking spaces beneath Block E, at $25,455 per spot is inline with other parking structures around the city. Looking at the deal from this perspective, Alatus paid market rate for the parking, and got a deal sweetener that is quite impressive, approximately 213,000 sq/ft of retail space. Pricing it the other way, at $66 sq/ft, the retail space was purchased at a price that is almost inconceivable given Block E’s location at the heart of the downtown district and within walking distance of Target Field, The Target Center, and many of Minneapolis’s theaters and restaurants. Despite the obvious advantages in location, the previous owners at Block E have had serious difficulty maintaining profitable levels of business. Trying to figure out what to do with this space will certainly keep Mr. Lux up at night, until a solution that provides long term tenants can be derived. Continue Reading

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Green Building, Industry News, Minnesota Real Estate Journal, Real Estate Programs

Reflections from the MN Real Estate Journal 4th Annual Build Green Conference

buildgreen_612x439nOn March 11, 2011, industry leaders gathered at the Golden Valley Country Club to discuss current developments, challenges, and goals of green building.  The University of St. Thomas is a sponsor of the Build Green Conference, which is hosted by the Minnesota Real Estate Journal.  Herb Tousley, director of the Master of Science in Real Estate program at St. Thomas moderated the morning’s opening session about new construction.  Mr. Tousley stated that the Univeristy of St. Thomas is seeking to integrate sustainability concepts into its course curriculum; the university has also established a policy that all new buildings be constructed to LEED silver status.

One of the previously unanswered questions on every developer’s mind is “How much does it cost to build green?”  This question was answered by the new construction panel; the consensus is that a LEED certified project will cost anywhere from an additional 0-2% of the total project, based on how early LEED criteria are incorporated into the design.  LEED silver is estimated to cost a 2-3% premium, while LEED gold hovers around 6-10%.  Continue Reading