Private ownership, innovation and strong client relationships give United Properties its long and illustrious history
United Properties traces its roots back to 1916 when it was formed to own and manage the real estate assets of the Hamm’s Brewing Company. Today, United Properties is a privately-owned commercial real estate development and investment firm with offices in Minneapolis and Denver
From Owner to Full-Service Firm: A 90-Year Evolution
United Properties was founded as a real estate investment company in 1916 by the Hamm Family, owners of Minnesota’s famed Hamm’s Brewing Company. Originally headquartered in downtown St. Paul, the company owned a range of assets in the family’s real estate portfolio, including the Hamm Building. Built in 1919 and located at 408 St. Peter Street, the building is a downtown St. Paul landmark. In 1998, the Pohlad family acquired United Properties.
Owner Expertise Leads to Development Opportunities
By the early 1970s, United Properties had expanded its investor/owner focus to include development. In 1972, development and design/build work began in Denver by a company subsequently acquired by United Properties. The Denver-based commercial office and industrial park developer has completed 150 high-quality office and warehouse spaces since 1972.
During the past three decades, United Properties has developed numerous, high-profile office, medical office, industrial, retail and multi-family buildings and business parks for its owned portfolio and for third-party clients, primarily in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
An active build-to-suit development program helps United Properties achieve the specific real estate needs of corporate users. The company has also developed multi-family housing projects in the Twin Cities suburbs. In the late 1990s, the company began developing grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping centers across the Upper Midwest. In 2002, a senior housing business was initiated. In recent years, the company has built and acquired several medical office buildings.
Real Estate Recession Leads to Real Estate Services
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the market became over-built in the midst of declining demand from corporate real estate users. The result was soaring vacancy rates and depressed property values. In the midst of a virtual industry collapse, United Properties’ management team began cultivating a new opportunity—third-party real estate services. The market downturn forced many big owners out of the business. United Properties saw this opportunity to begin providing services to institutional clients and private owners.
The company put seven decades of knowledge as a real estate investor, owner and developer to work. From the mid ’80s to the mid ’90s, United Properties provided brokerage and leasing, property management, construction and other services to property owners and corporate users. By the time the next development cycle began in 1995, the company had built the largest brokerage and property management practice in the Twin Cities.
Riding the Top of the Real Estate Cycle
When the Twin Cities real estate market began picking up momentum the second half of the 1990s, United Properties had two solid businesses—a large, third-party services business and its principal investment and development business—both being serviced by the industry’s top talent. During the next extended development cycle, United Properties diversified and expanded its development and investment businesses.
In 2000, United Properties entered the grocery-anchored neighborhood shoppiong center investment and development business. In 2002, United Properties began developing Applewood Pointe senior housing communities with its first site in Roseville.
In 2004, United Properties received the National Developer of the Year Award from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), the commercial real estate industry’s leading trade association.
Reorganization Creates Clear Value Proposition
In 2008, United Properties also reorganized its business to create more distinction between the businesses that provide third-party services and the investment and development businesses. To achieve that distinction, United Properties moved its third-party business of property management, facility management and brokerage to a new entity and refocused on investment and development in the retail, office, industrial, healthcare and residential sectors. The third-party services businesses now operate in a joint venture with Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm, as Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq.
Expanding through the Down Turn
Beginning in 2005, United Properties began expanding in Colorado. In 2008, United Properties acquired Ojala and Company to further expand its development business in Colorado. Ojala & Company brings nearly 40 years of development and design/build expertise to United Properties. In 2013, the Ojala & Company brokerage services became an independent entity.
In 2012, Meridian Land Company, specializing in residential development and investment, became a subsidiary of United Properties.