Lux gains control of Binger site

– Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal

eveloper Bob Lux has gained control of a full block of downtown Minneapolis real estate and is evaluating its development potential.

The block is between 10th and 11th streets and Hennepin and Hawthorne avenues. It is mostly used as a surface parking lot, though it also includes a closed gas station.

Lux bought one small, 0.3-acre parcel on the southwest corner of the block in 2005 for about $1.5 million. The remaining three parcels, which total 1.66 acres, are owned by the estate of the late Honeywell executive and philanthropist James Binger.

Lux recently gained control of those parcels, according to multiple sources knowledgeable about the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“I cannot confirm or deny whether or not we are pursuing the rest of the block,” Lux said in a recent interview.

Hennepin County tax records estimate the land is worth about $4.7 million. A representative of the Binger estate couldn’t be reached for comment.

Lux has a record of thinking big. In the past half-dozen years, he’s been involved in three well-known condo projects. He developed The Carlyle and Grant Park condominiums in Minneapolis with Minnetonka-based Opus Northwest and is developing The Penfield in downtown St. Paul through a new development company he formed in 2005 called Alatus Partners, based in St. Louis Park.

Alatus Partners is one of the 13 companies attempting to buy eight parking ramps that the city of Minneapolis put on the market last fall.

Lux declined to update the status of the sale, other than to say the city is still going through its selection process.

City officials said last fall that it would pick a buyer sometime in April or May of this year.

United Properties lists Bohn portfolio

Karl Bohn is selling all of his industrial holdings, a five-building package of properties that totals 1.05 million square feet.

Bloomington-based United Properties brokers Pete Rand, Eric Bjelland and Ryan Kratz have been retained to sell the fully-occupied buildings, which are debt-free.

Two of the buildings are in Savage, one is in Shakopee, one is in Burnsville and one is in Fort Collins, Colo. Tenants include Anchor Glass Container Co., New Belgium Brewing Co. (in Fort Collins), ConAgra Foods Inc. and Kohler Co.

The package has attracted interest from a wide range of potential buyers, including pension-fund advisers, real estate investment trusts and tenant in common (TIC) sponsors, Rand said.

Bohn, who still owns a lot of land in the Savage area, decided to sell the properties because demand is strong, Rand said. “There is far more capital than there is product available today.”

United Properties is accepting bids individually or collectively for the properties. Offers are due June 8. There’s no set asking price.

Liberty claims ‘home run’ in Q1

Liberty Property Trust “hit a home run” in the first quarter when it purchased the former headquarters of Best Buy Co. in Eden Prairie, said Mike Hagan, the Malvern, Pa.-based real estate investment trust’s chief investment officer in a conference call with analysts last month.

The 47-acre site near Highway 169 and Interstate 494 includes a 345,000-square-foot vacant building, which was leased at the time of the deal to Eden Prairie-based Supervalu Inc. In addition, Liberty is subdividing 17 acres of land on the site for future development.

Liberty CEO Bill Hanowsky commented on how he’s seen a slight downshift in lease transactions across Liberty’s wide geographic span, but he singled out a few robust markets, including Virginia Beach, Va., South Florida and the Twin Cities.

“Minneapolis, I would say, is kind of a standout vis-a-vis the Midwest,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like a Midwest market. It feels much more robust and active. And that’s why … we continue to try to find opportunities to build something or buy something.”

By: Sam Black
Date: May 27, 2007
View original article and images here.