NAIOP: Best in Class Properties

NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recognizes this year's top projects throughout the state of Minnesota.

NAIOP: Best in Class Properties

Numerous distinctive projects were developed in the past year across Minnesota, with 44 projects being nominated for special awards. The Minnesota Chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, selected 16 projects as Awards of Excellence winners. Seven of the winning projects are located in the suburbs, four are in Minneapolis, four are in St. Paul, and one is in Rochester.

The judges evaluated the buildings on project development, function and design, architectural integrity, market feasibility, sustainable attributes, and unique project challenges. The winning properties, announced at a September event, are profiled below.

InterContinental Minneapolis–St. Paul Airport Hotel

Category - Hospitality
Location - 5009 Glumack Dr., St. Paul
Owner - Graves Hospitality
Developer - Graves Hospitality
General Contractor - PCL Construction
Architect - RSP Architects
Interior Designer - Horwitz, Inc.
Size - 255,000 square feet

This five-star hotel links directly to the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. The team of RSP Architects, PCL Construction, and Graves Hospitality built a hotel its members described as blending “international flair with Midwest style.” The 12-story hotel includes 291 guest rooms, a full-service spa, restaurants, a rooftop observation bar, and a coffee bar. It also features a TSA checkpoint for guests flying out of the Twin Cities. It provides 13 meeting spaces to accommodate a variety of events. In a nod to Minnesota roots, the hotel incorporates Kasota Stone and Cold Spring Granite flooring products.


Category - Industrial, Build-to-Suit
Location - 845 Minnehaha Ave. E., St. Paul
Owner - The Vomela Companies
Developer - N/A
General Contractor - R.J. Ryan Construction, Inc.
Architect - Lampert Architects, Pope Architects
Interior Designer - N/A
Size - 300,200 square feet

This project, built entirely with union labor, involved the redevelopment of a former 3M site. Vomela, based in St. Paul since 1947, is rapidly growing and its leadership wanted to bring its operation into one facility. The large building project allowed the company to consolidate its administrative functions, design and production services, and customer service offerings. Most of the exterior consists of insulated precast wall panels. The formerly empty parcel now houses a facility with 180 jobs, and there is room for workforce expansion. The building incorporates high-performing wall and roof insulation and a solar array.

Northern Stacks VII

Category - Industrial, Bulk Distribution
Location - 60 51st Way, Fridley
Owner - Northern Stacks VII LLC, a joint venture of Hyde Development and Mortenson Properties
Developer - Hyde Development
General Contractor - M.A. Mortenson Company
Architect - Mohagen Hansen
Interior Designer - Mohagen Hansen
Size - 200,000 square feet

This structure is the final newly constructed industrial building in a planned business park with 1.7 million square feet. This project entailed redevelopment of a former superfund site. Before construction was completed, this speculative project was 100 percent leased. The building features a bold modern design and incorporates extensive glass on the front. There is a 135-foot deep truck court, and separate entrances for cars and trucks. The location offers access to bus lines, a commuter train, and regional bike trails. The project’s sustainable attributes include extensive natural light, a white roof, and native prairie landscaping.

Beacon Bluff Business Center

Category - Light Industrial, High Finish
Location - 955 Wells St., St. Paul
Owner - Opus Development Company, LLC
Developer - Opus Development Company, LLC
General Contractor - Opus Design Build, LLC
Architect - Opus AE Group, LLC
Interior Designer - Opus AE Group, LLC
Size - 86,632 square feet

For more than 10 years, the St. Paul Port Authority led a drive to clean up and transform the former site of 3M’s headquarters. Opus bought the property from the Port Authority, which now houses a speculative industrial development that provides office and warehouse spaces. Terracon and Dynamic Sheetmetal were the first two tenants in the structure, which features an exposed aggregate precast exterior with contrasting tones and banding. The building has 10 docks and three drive-in doors and a 24-foot clearance height, which address the logistics needs of tenants.

Arbor Lakes 10500

Category - Light Industrial, Low Finish
Location - 10500 Fountains Dr., Maple Grove
Owner - Duke Realty Corp.
Developer - Duke Realty Corp.
General Contractor - Duke Construction
Architect - Harris Architects
Interior Designer - N/A
Size - 262,820 square feet

This building was the first to be completed as part of a larger city of Maple Grove plan to redevelop 50 acres of a reclaimed gravel mining area. Tax-increment financing was approved for this project for public improvements of roads and utilities. The building incorporates high-finish attributes that include clerestory windows, stone accents, and metal panel sun shades. This speculative development was supported to attract business development and high-quality jobs. The building was constructed with energy-efficient precast wall panels, and the clerestory glass allows for natural daylighting in the warehouse space.

Minnesota Drive Medical Campus

Category - Medical Office
Location - 4100 Minnesota Dr., Edina
Owner - Frauenshuh Inc.
Developer - Frauenshuh Inc.
General Contractor - RJM Construction, LLC
Architect - Sperides Reiners Architects Inc.
Interior Designer - Sperides Reiners Architects Inc.
Size - 70,366 square feet

This project was constructed to meet the specific needs of Twin Cities Orthopedics. The medical building includes space for prosthetics, orthotics, a clinic, and other uses. It has an ambulatory surgery center, which is built for eye surgeries. It contains a two-story field house space for physical therapy activities, including basketball, dance, and lifting weights. The medical campus was designed to meet the city of Edina’s goals of increasing density while supporting intentional and thoughtful development. This project received grants to fund environmental cleanup of a landfill that included extensive materials containing asbestos.

East End

Category - Mixed Use
Location - 240 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis
Owner - Sherman Associates
Developer - Sherman Associates
General Contractor - Frana Companies
Architect - ESG Architecture & Design
Interior Designer - ESG Architecture & Design
Size - 297,686 square feet

This luxury mixed-use development is located in downtown Minneapolis near U.S. Bank Stadium. The project added 180 apartments, a sandwich shop, a coffee shop, and the first Trader’s Joe’s to Minneapolis. This urban campus project is owned and operated by Sherman Associates. The project’s social epicenter is a 10,000 square-foot outdoor terrace, which includes a swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and dining area, outdoor movie theater, game lawn, and firepit. Residents of the complex can subscribe to power generated by a solar garden. All of the apartment units include smart home technology.

Zvago Cooperative at St. Anthony Park

Category - Multi-Family (1 to 5 stories)
Location - 2265 W. Luther Place, St. Paul
Owner - Zvago Cooperative at St. Anthony Park
Developer - OneTwoOne Development, LLC
General Contractor - Frana Companies Inc.
Architect - Kaas Wilson Architects
Interior Designer - bdh+young interiors|architecture
Size - 112,951 square feet

This 49-unit cooperative housing community was built on land that had been part of the Luther Seminary campus. It was in the planning stages for years to ensure that the project would reflect the community’s values and fit within the current neighborhood. All 49 units were sold before ground was broken for construction, and there is a long waiting list for units. Amenity spaces support social interactions that are organized and organic. While the housing unit design is modern, surrounding buildings were studied so their details and warmth could be reflected in the new construction.

365 Nicollet

Category - Multi-Family (6 or more stories)
Location - 365 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Owner - AIGGRE Ritz Block Investor LLC
Developer - Opus Development Co. LLC
General Contractor - Opus Design Build LLC
Architect - Opus AE Group LLC
Interior Designer - Opus AE Group LLC
Size - 708,000 square feet

This 30-story luxury development in downtown Minneapolis includes 370 housing units and 9,500 square feet of retail space on the ground level. To emphasize the building’s geometry, it has a simple color palette of primarily white and charcoal. The exterior’s distinctive architecture features large glass elevations and a dynamic pattern of balconies. The apartment floor plans range from alcove units to three-bedroom penthouse suites. The apartments have floor-to-ceiling windows, quartz countertops, and stainless steel appliances. 365 Nicollet offers many amenities, including a spa and relaxation room, golf simulator, sports lounge, pet spa, pool, and hot tub.

Prime Therapeutics

Category - Office Build-to-Suit
Location - 2900 Ames Crossing Road, Eagan
Owner - Artis REIT
Developer - United Properties
General Contractor - R.J. Ryan Construction
Architect - HGA Architects
Interior Designer - HGA Architects
Size - 411,000 square feet

United Properties worked with Prime Therapeutics to consolidate four of its Minnesota offices into one location. The result is an office complex with flexible, light-filled spaces. The design of the conference room and meeting areas promotes internal mobility and collaboration. To support a high quality of life for employees, the facility includes a fully-equipped fitness center, outdoor walking paths, full-service cafeteria and Caribou Coffee, and an expansive dining area and deck. The five-story building, which has open stairways, is home to about 2,000 employees. Workspaces are structured in formal and informal settings.

MoZaic East

Category - Office Multi-Tenant
Location - 1330 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis
Owner - Ackerberg, Olympus Ventures
Developer - Ackerberg
General Contractor - The Opus Group
Architect - The Opus Group
Interior Designer - The Opus Group, E. Christian Design
Size - 220,000 square feet

This speculative office development in the Uptown area of Minneapolis consists of about 200,000 square feet within eight stories. It was designed from the perspective of achieving a unique, urban, and hip vibe of function and beauty. The office space has tall ceilings and great views, and every office floor has at least two outdoor patios. Art was added to the exterior columns and at both building entrances. The building’s iridescent skin changes color as people move around it. MoZaic East is paired along with the MoZaic West development and the MoZaic Art Park.

Minnetonka Corporate Campus

Category - Renovated, Building
Location - 12701 Whitewater Dr., Minnetonka
Owner - Ryan Companies, Atwater Group
Developer - Ryan Companies
General Contractor - Greiner Construction, Ryan Companies
Architect - bdh+young
Interior Designer - bdh+young
Size - 23,665 square feet

Prior to the renovation, this office site did not include any amenities. The project involved converting underused storage space into a plaza that features a fitness center, bike storage, training room, and lounge space. A hole was cut into the floor to create an open staircase that connects the office space to the amenity plaza. Natural light now filters from skylights down to the lower-level amenity area. To complete the project, workers needed to relocate mechanical, electrical, and phone systems. To attract and retain tenants, this business center was rejuvenated to enhance employee satisfaction.

Winslow Capital Management

Category - Renovated, Tenant Improvement
Location - 80 8th St. S., Minneapolis
Owner - Winslow Capital Management
Developer - N/A
General Contractor - Gardner Builders
Architect - NELSON
Interior Designer - NELSON
Size - 24,777 square feet

Winslow, a growth equity investment firm, wanted an updated workspace that would better reflect its brand identity and serve the needs of its employees and clients. NELSON developed a modern and open office layout with a sophisticated and clean palette that emphasizes high ceilings and an art collection. An extensive use of glass provides increased sightlines. The welcoming reception area and adjacent conference center are doubling as a grand entertainment area for special events and all-company meetings. The greatest challenge was ensuring that Winslow’s desire for a gallery-like art space worked with the overall design.


Category - Repositioned, New Use
Location - 402 Main St. S., Stillwater
Owner - Elevage Development Group LLC
Developer - Elevage Development Group LLC
General Contractor - Zeman Construction
Architect - ESG Architecture & Design
Interior Designer - ESG Architecture & Design
Size - 30,140 square feet

The Lora project entailed repurposing the former Joseph Wolf Brewery block. Designers figured out a way to transform four dilapidated buildings into a 40-room boutique hotel, restaurant, bar, and café. The name Lora references a river siren named Lorelei who was part of German and Scandinavian folklore. The ultimate design features airy and modern spaces while retaining aspects of the buildings’ historic character. Original walls, floors, and archways are paired with contemporary elements. The project team says the Lora “provides a whimsical journey through space, engaging guests by evoking memories of timeless childhood fairy tales.”

Applewood Pointe of Champlin at Mississippi Crossings

Category - Senior Housing
Location - 345 E. River Entry, Champlin
Owner - Applewood Pointe Cooperative of Champlin at Mississippi Crossings
Developer - United Properties Residential LLC
General Contractor - Weis Builders
Architect - JSSH Architects
Interior Designer - Laurie Pearson
Size - 221,954 square feet

Residents moved into this housing cooperative community in the spring of 2019. Located along the Mississippi River, all the homes were sold prior to completion of construction. Homes range in size from 1,232 to 1,847 square feet, with all homes including two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a covered balcony. Larger homes may include an additional den or sunroom. Common areas include a great room, library, fitness center, and arts and crafts room. This project is part of a major redevelopment plan along the Hwy. 169 corridor that’s been undertaken by the city of Champlin.

One Discovery Square

Category - Special Purpose
Location - 202 4th St. SW, Rochester
Owner - Mortenson
Developer - Mortenson
General Contractor - Mortenson
Architect - RSP + HOK
Interior Designer - RSP + HOK
Size - 93,000 square feet

This bio- and life-science lab and office building was conceived with two purposes. Local and Mayo Clinic leaders want to retain startup companies and homegrown talent. They also want to open the market to third-party collaborators of Mayo Clinic. One Discovery Square houses 12 tenants, including the Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota–Rochester, and Epic Systems Corp. It provides startup, early phase, and established companies the opportunity to collaborate in the development of the next wave of technologies and therapies. Collaboration spaces are located throughout the building to bring together practitioners, educators, researchers, and innovators.

NAIOP Nominees for 2019 Excellence Awards

Sixteen NAIOP awards were given to outstanding projects this year. An awards ceremony was scheduled for September 25 in Minneapolis. Twenty-eight other projects were recognized as nominees. Here are the nominees by category:


Canopy by Hilton Minneapolis Mill District, Minneapolis The Hilton–Downtown Rochester, Rochester Midas Station, Brooklyn Park

Industrial, Build-to-Suit
Arbor Lakes 10501–Illume Candle, Maple Grove North Star Sheets, Cottage Grove

Industrial, Bulk Distribution
Highcrest II & III, Roseville

Medical Office
CityPlace Medical, Woodbury Park Nicollet Specialty Center, St. Louis Park Ulysses Medical Building, Blaine

Mixed Use
KA Block, Minneapolis

Multi-Family (1 to 5 stories)
Loden SV, Shoreview The Reserve at Arbor Lakes, Maple Grove

Multi-Family (6 or more stories)
Avidor Edina, Edina

Office Multi-Tenant
The Nordic, Minneapolis

Renovated, Building
AT&T Tower Renovation, Minneapolis Kickernick, Minneapolis

Renovated, Tenant Improvement
PCL Construction Minneapolis Office, Edina Wagner SprayTech, Plymouth

Repositioned, New Use
Energy Management Collaborative, Plymouth The 428, St. Paul Osborn370, St. Paul Park Village Repositioning, St. Louis Park Voyage HealthCare Clinic, Crystal

Senior Housing
Applewood Pointe of Eagan, Eagan Orchards of Minnetonka Senior Living, Minnetonka The Pillars of Mankato, Mankato

Special Purpose
Fraser Woodbury, Woodbury North Loop Parking, Minneapolis

Patricia “Patty” Gnetz, senior vice president of U.S. Bank Commercial Real Estate, is the winner of the 2019 NAIOP Minnesota President’s Award. It is NAIOP’s highest honor, and the winner is selected by chapter leaders from a field of candidates nominated by members.

Patricia “Patty” Gnetz

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Patty professionally as well as serving together on the NAIOP board,” says Brandon Champeau, NAIOP Minnesota president, in a prepared statement. “She represents our industry with outstanding leadership, advocacy, and mentorship. Her story and career accomplishments, initially as a young entrepreneur and then as a respected executive, are an inspiration.”

In her U.S. Bank role, Gnetz has underwritten and closed more than $1 billion in commercial real estate loans. She manages a $500 million real estate portfolio. She’s working on the construction financing for United Properties’ RBC Gateway project. Scheduled to be completed in 2021, the 37-story tower project is being built at 250 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

She also was involved in the construction financing of the new Kraus-Anderson headquarters and apartments and the United Properties’ Nordic project—all built in Minneapolis. Before she joined U.S. Bank in 2004, Gnetz was the president and owner of Nicollet Financial Corp., a commercial real estate brokerage company based in Minneapolis.

The President’s Award recognizes contributions to the industry, association, and the broader community. Throughout her tenure as a NAIOP member, Gnetz was a highly engaged leader. She volunteered as a mentor to young and new NAIOP members, she chaired the Education Committee, and she served multiple terms on the chapter’s board of directors.

In the Twin Cities–area community, Gnetz is serving with or was involved with Catholic Charities Family Shelter, Urban Land Institute Market Council, Feed My Starving Children, Minnesota Multi Housing Association, South St. Paul Educational Foundation, Gilda’s Club Twin Cities, and West St. Paul Planning Commission.

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