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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, Real Estate Matters - Interview, Real Estate Programs, Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile: Aileen Halligan

aileenhalliganAcademic researchers who study social, behavioral, and organizational psychology have spent the previous decade studying how people make judgement about people they meet. Some of these researchers believe that your brain, specifically the emotional centers, work incredibly fast to make snap judgements about people, a trait that was crucial in our species history, when ascertaining friend from foe was often a life threatening decision. The common phrases for these experiences are “gut feeling” and “a hunch”, and contradictory to the general belief that these emotions are irrational, scientists are increasingly discovering that they are actually the product of an incredibly complex system of sensory analysis, memory, and a syntax that follows a precise logical argument. This insight becomes all the more powerful when one begins to realize just how accurate that gut feeling is when the situation is appropriate.

Considering the opening paragraph of this interview, it is without surprise that Ms. Halligan makes a significant first impression, worthy of the pretense. Very confident, driven, intelligent, well spoken, and conscientious  are the gut feeling(s) I experienced when Ms. Halligan began answering my questions. Aileen’s career, education, and goals are all reflective of these traits, and it would appear a solid bet that her future holds plenty of successes.

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Appraisal, Real Estate Matters - Interview, Real Estate Programs, Uncategorized, UST Student Profile

Student Profile- Lane Thor

DSC_5428“The (best part of the UST MSRE program is the…) whole package; having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and learning, first hand, their opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb.  These connections will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.”

Real Estate Matters has had the opportunity to sit down with several MSRE students in the graduating class of 2011 and get their impressions of the program, their plans for the future, and their advice to perspective students as their time in the MSRE program draws to a close. The first 2011 graduate, Lane Thor, has been working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office as an Appraiser. Lane was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

What is your background and experience?

I grew up in St. Paul, and have lived in Lino Lakes since 2006. I earned my undergraduate degree at Hamline University in St. Paul, where I majored in Political Science. I was fortunate enough to play football for Hamline while I was a student there, which provided a great opportunity to learn valuable lessons about life, responsibility, and leadership.

So who do you route for in the MIAC?

I have to route for Hamline.  But I promise, I alway route for St. Thomas to win.  If they play Hamline I just hope for a tie…

Where have you worked since earning your undergraduate degree?

I am fortunate, in that my first job out of school is one I have really enjoyed. I began working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office in 2006.  My day-to-day duties involve the appraisal of real estate for tax purposes. I specialize in residential property and am currently one of 52 appraisers working for Ramsey County. The thing I like most about the job is the unique nature of each property.  Each property presents new challenges and opportunities for me every day. As an undergrad I was interested in getting into business law, but after a few law classes I changed my mind.  My passion for public sector work, especially the parts of the government that support the real estate industry, has remained which makes my current position a great fit for me. Also, my job affords me the opportunity to keep a healthy work-life balance, which is something that is very important to me.

Why did you decide to get an MSRE, and how did you choose UST?

I wanted to strengthen my skill set and knowledge of real estate issues to compliment my current background, with the goal of having more opportunities  in the field of real estate. Looking back on my time in the program I can definitely say that I have broadened my skill set and given myself many new and exciting options. Furthermore, my sophistication in real estate has increased two fold, (1) I have learned more about the theoretical aspects of the real estate industry than I ever imagined, and (2) I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of practical knowledge I gained, with regard to the different aspects of real estate. I am certain that this experience will benefit me in any area of real estate that I get into.

I chose St. Thomas, because the program and the school is regarded in the Twin Cities, as the gold standard in real estate education. UST has an extensive professional network, including the real estate advisory board, which is basically all the heavy hitters in the Twin Cities real estate industry. I looked at a few other programs but ultimately chose UST because I wanted to have classroom experience – that personal level, face-to-face contact with my professors and peers is important for me. Because of this I have built life long friendships.  The small class sizes have allowed me to meet everyone and make valuable connections. The classroom experience and the relationships that stem from this structure is what brought me to UST.

What is the best part of the program?

The whole package – having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and getting first hand opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry.  Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb and will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry.  The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.

Do you have some advice for perspective students?

If you have a passion for real estate, this will be a great opportunity.  As with any graduate degree program, the workload gets heavy at times.  But, if you have taken the time to prepare for the program, taken the GMAT, etc. you will find a way to manage the out of classroom work. This program is great for people who love real estate.

What are your career goals?

Right now, I am working on a couple of ideas that I have been formulating for a long time. I wanted to wait until I graduate before I really focused on one plan, as I needed to really see what was involved in each part of the industry, and where my passions really were. I think for the long-term, I would like to go into business for myself. . For the time being, I will continue to pursue high level positions in the public sector dealing with real estate or real estate related issues. After I get settled in, I would like to begin my own business, doing both at the same time, public sector and private. My private business will consist of a full service real estate company focusing solely on  niche markets that  have not been tapped. With good marketing and perseverance there is a lot of upside to  some areas that  remain untouched.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

At Hamline, my football coach told me to be successful you need to surround yourself with the right people. That means making the right connections, having the right network, as well as putting good people near you. At UST you get that, professors who are helping you and working so you succeed. My new network is due in large part to UST.  This alone has made my decision to enter the MSRE program a great one and makes me very excited as I look forward to my future career.

Real Estate Matters would like to thank Lane Thor for taking the time to share his insight and experience in the MSRE program. We would also like to congratulate him on his graduation and look forward to keeping track of his promising career. To find out more information about the UST MSRE program, please visit our website.

Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate

Executive Insight Series- Dennis Doyle

Dennis-Doyle“My life is lived from the inside out. My principle values, experience and leadership come from the inside, and guide my life on the outside. It’s an inside job. It seems that everyone is wired differently. Some of us want to make a lot of money, while others want to save the world and help people. You CAN do both! Everyone needs to figure it out. Work is a huge part of it. If you find the right work and path, life can be a real joy and blessing.”

Dennis Doyle, Executive Chairman of the Welsh Property Trust, started his career in real estate as an adolescent who spent his summers working construction for his neighbor, George Welsh. During that period, Mr. Doyle’s passion for construction and development grew exponentially, part of the credit, according to Mr. Doyle, belongs to his older brothers who forced him to work harder to keep up. He left real estate briefly to attend college on a football scholarship, with the intention of becoming a coach, however Mr. Doyle soon realized that this was not his true goal, and returned home to continue his career developing and constructing buildings. In 1977, Mr. Doyle and Mr. Welsh (same childhood neighbor) entered into a handshake agreement, that formed the Welsh Companies, and has shaped the last 30 years of Mr. Doyle’s life. Reflecting on this story, and on his subsequent career, Mr. Doyle lamented,  “I love being able to put my personal touch on buildings, and am very fortunate to have found my life’s passions and being able to continue working in this field.”

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Commercial Real Estate, Development, Executive Insight Series, Industry News, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Residential Real Estate, Retail Real Estate

Executive Insight Series: Boyd Stofer

Boyd Stofer - CEO Marquette Group

Boyd Stofer - CEO Marquette Group

“No one was doing anything, I mean no one was even talking about starting a new project. Sure I was scared, we paid too much for the building during the worst real estate market in my lifetime. However, we needed to play offense, someone had to make the first move, and it was us. That got a lot of attention, and we were able to get the building 90% leased before we started renovation, that’s just unheard of, and it worked to our benefit.”

The quotation above does a superb job in summing up the career, strategy, and philosophy of Boyd Stofer, president and CEO of the Marquette Real Estate Group. Over the past 32 years, Mr. Stofer has helped United Properties (Now part of the Marquette Group) grow into one of the most successful and profitable real estate development companies in the country. Attending a lecture from Mr. Stofer is somewhat like listening to a Harvard (one of his Ivy degrees) Economics professor give a semesters worth of lectures fast forwarded to a speed that condenses the information into one hour. During his talk it appeared as if he continued to talk as he inhaled, and didn’t miss a beat or misstate a figure as he outlined the micro and macro forces that are effecting the national commercial real estate market. His charisma stems directly from his incredible intelligence and ability to conceptualize and connect the vast set of variables that made up the contents of his talk, ending with the weaving of details to present the Marquette Group’s current standing and plans for the future. It’s no wonder that the Pohlad Family entrusts Mr. Stofer with a significant share of their fortune, as very few individuals can impart their razor sharp intellect and cunning in such a succinct and complete manor. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the room (full of real estate professionals, academics, and students) walked out questioning Mr. Stofer’s understanding of the real estate market, actually, it highly unlikely that anyone who meets him ever has doubtful thoughts.

Biography |

Mr. Stofer’s educational credentials mimics his career as nothing short of top tier. In 1971 he graduated from the Cornell School of Engineering, and followed it up with an MBA with Honors from Harvard. Immediately following his MBA program, Mr. Stofer was hired by Hines Interests, a national real estate development group based in Houston. After three years in Houston Mr. Stofer left and came to Minneapolis to join United Properties, then owned by the Hamm family. Since his hire, Mr. Stofer has led the companies development initiatives, and has amassed an amazing portfolio of work. In 1996 he was named president and CEO, since that time Mr. Stofer has grown and merged United Properties into what is now the Marquette Group. Today, the combined entities of the Marquette group employ over 1,000 people, has assets around $750M and services more than $40B worth of real estate loans. The current operational structure of the Marquette Group is the culmination of Mr. Stofer’s vision for a vertically integrated property firm that is unique in the services that it can provide. The vast array of real estate products that Marquette Group is far from novel, in fact it is probably the firms best financial hedge, in that the organization is prepared and capable of earning revenues in any market and any economic climate.

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

Executive Insight Series: Bob Lux and the 14 Million Dollar Question About Block E

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

Bob Lux- Principal at Alatus Development

“So, what is the plan for Block E?”

A simple question that was definitely on every attendee’s mind at the most recent Real Estate Executive Insight Series. However, the answer isn’t so simple, and if it were not for Bob Lux’s (principal at Alatus LLC) charisma, intelligence, and experience in leading major, press-worthy development projects the answer might not have been as well received. As any gifted public figure would, Mr. Lux skirted the question, but in his sidestep, alluded to several important things concerning the future of Block E, as well as the kind of person Mr. Lux is. Before his answer can be assessed properly, it is important to understand Mr. Lux’s history, professional accomplishments, and his philosophy on development (and life).

Mr. Lux grew up in a Long Prairie, a small community in central Minnesota, a town that most likely does not have a building higher than the many crop silos that dot the agrarian landscape. Like many young men from small towns, Mr. Lux left home in search of success and the experience that can only be found in the “big city”. After earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota, Mr. Lux returned to Long Prairie with the intention of starting a home building business in the area. He purchased a lumber yard with his father and began building farmers homesteads in the immediate area. Although this was quite different than the projects he would eventually oversee, Mr. Lux quickly learned the importance of adding value to differentiate his product, otherwise it would simply be a commodity.

After a short time at home the urge to return to city life became to great to resist, and once again, Mr. Lux left Long Prairie for the Twin Cities. His first employer, The Dominium Group, was developing high-density suburban real estate, which faced major issues surrounding obtaining approval from the community and local government for the rezoning of  land for this use. Suburban homeowners are very protective of their communities, and the amount of space that each homesite has was a reflection of the owners desire for privacy and quiet living. Mr. Lux’s first assignment was in Eagan, MN, where he faced opposition form the mayor as well as landowners surrounding the proposed site. To change the attitudes of the landowners surrounding the site, who were a critical stakeholder in the success of the project, Mr. Lux used a mixture of logic, emotional appeal, and financial acumen to reach out to each of the parties and work with them to develop a compromised plan that met the needs of everyone. In the end this project was approved, and through it, Mr. Lux learned one of the key lessons that has helped him throughout his career. During the lecture, he repeatedly cited the ability to listen to, and connect with people as the most important skill he has, and the main reason why projects fail or succeed.

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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

Development, Industry News, Property Management, Real Estate Trends, Retail Real Estate, Uncategorized

Real Estate Executive Insights: An Insider’s View of Commercial RE Investing

speaker_AndyDeckas “Never waste a crisis, they all have opportunity.”

 

It is a common occurrence during difficult times, and there is something very human about perceiving the current situation and lamenting that it is the worst or most extreme crisis in history. Although most of the time this can be chalked up to theatrics or over reaction after hearing Mr. Andy Deckas, President of Founders Properties,

Moody's CPPI -- Pre and Post Bubble

Moody's CPPI -- Pre and Post Bubble

speak about what happened in commercial real estate (CRE) over the past seven years, one can only hope that he is correct in his analysis that, at least for CRE, the market is moving forward and recovering from the difficulties of the last few years. Mr. Deckas gave a superb analysis of the root causes of CRE bubble, using a combination of personal narrative and hard data to support his claim, while being very specific in the way he defined the crisis in the context of the greater economy, and the world in general. His labeling of the fluctuations in CRE market, as the worst in history, based on the criteria of loss of equity, disruption of the industry, and systemic implications on the greater economy quantifies his claim, and despite the pitfalls of making such sweeping assertions, seems to be reasonable. Despite Mr. Deckas’s sober analysis of the recent state of the CRE market, his presentation had a positive tone that included optimism about current opportunities, as well as providing a recap of his fascinating career in the industry.

Resume | Mr. Deckas’s credentials as a commercial investor date back to beginning of the industry, when financial professionals were just realizing the value of securitizing CRE. Mr. Deckas earned his BA from Northwestern University, and planned on continuing his education by earning an MBA until he received an offer that he could not refuse. A personal connection encouraged Mr. Deckas to contact Tom Crawley, who was an executive at Heitman Financial. Mr. Crawley’s pitch was simple, come work for me, and in two years I promise you will learn more than you ever could about CRE in academia. Mr. Deckas agreed, and part of his initial responsibilities included working on raising the capital needed to construct the Mall of America. After nine years moving up through the ranks at Heitman, Mr. Deckas left the firm and moved to OPUS, which at the time  was one of the nations largest real estate developers. His first role at OPUS was creating and growing OPUS financing operation. At OPUS, Mr. Deckas moved the focus of there customer targeting from institutional investors, which were flush with capital but also with a highly bureaucratic structure that impeded flexibility, to high net worth, private equity. It was here that Mr. Deckas found an untapped niche of the market, linking investors eager to increase returns, with securities that offered high upside, with (at the time) minimal risk. Mr. Deckas’s final move brought him to Founders Properties, were he serves as the President of Operations.

The resume that Mr. Deckas possesses, especially the quick ascension to the c-suite in every firm he worked for, provides credibility for his opinions and the analysis of the situation on a macro level. Raising capital for funds in the $100M-$200M dollar range places Mr. Deckas in a unique echelon of individuals who were present in the board rooms and at the job sites of developments that represented the center of the looming decline of the industry

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Development, Industry News, Real Estate Trends, Upcoming UST Events, UST Program News

The Week: March 5-13

Here is an aggregated list of the most influential stories that are shaping the conversation about the real estate industry…

From the Mortgage Bankers AssociationMBA Weekly Application Survey – The MBA index of mortgage applications has risen at an adjusted rate of 15.5% over the week prior. Furthermore, the seasonally adjusted four-week moving average of the market index is up 2.7%.

HouseholdNetWorthQ42010.nfscale

Fed Household Net Worth - from Calculated Risk

From Calculated RiskQ4 Flow of Funds: Household Real Estate assets off $6.3 trillion from peak A telling statistic that shows the current total worth of American’s homes has fallen to levels comparable to vales after the dot-com bubble. Looking into the period before this extraordinary market period, the last time housing equity equaled a similar percentage of the total GDP, a measure that controls for inflation as well as other economic changes, was 1997.

From the Bigger Pockets Blog | Real Estate by the Numbers (March 5-13)- As noted in the last post, a report from Finance & Commerce, new foreclosure filings are down across the country, and new Mortgage applications are up. This combination is good news, signaling more Americans consider their financial prospects positive enough to buy a home, and on the flip-side, less Americans are losing their investments…

From the Economist | Bricks and Slaughter– A unique editorial from the Economist, that poses serious questions about the conventional wisdom surrounding the single largest investment most citizens in rich world countries make, their homes. Looking at the issue from the perspectives of debt financing; and the intertwined nature of the economy, mortgage prices + availability, and real estates prices the create an accelerating effect on a home buyers ROI, the editors argue that serious modifications are still needed before the market can truly stabilize.

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