The people of United Properties have spent the last decade working to create deep roots in both the Twin Cities and Denver metropolitan areas. From rejuvenating the historic North Loop and dreaming up Minneapolis’s latest skyscraper, to creating an innovative approach to retail, office and industrial mixed-use developments in Denver, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished – in collaboration with our partners – in the last decade.
With the second wave of the Roaring Twenties upon us, we’re taking a moment to commemorate the end of an era with a look-back at a decade of transformative commercial real estate.
A Strong Start: 2010–2012
Coming out of the Great Recession in the late 2000s, the 2010s saw a recovering commercial real estate market that was ready for new development. United Properties was poised to start the decade strong, largely thanks to the strategic management of our assets during the downturn. This allowed us to seize opportunities as the market improved and proved to be instrumental in positioning United Properties as an emerging developer in the region.
In 2011, United Properties kicked off a redevelopment of what would become one of our signature properties: the Ford Center. We worked with our partners to transform the former Model T plant into a 21st-century office building that maintains its historic charm. This LEED Gold-certified project helped to revitalize the North Loop neighborhood and sparked a series of developments in the area. The renovation and successful transformation of the building were driven by both the development and asset management sides of our organization.
Since the remodel, our asset management team has continued to focus on innovative ways to keep the building attractive for its tenants. This project was followed by the historic revitalization of the Loose-Wiles Building on Washington Avenue and the introduction of the very popular Freehouse restaurant, both of which we continue to own.
At this time, United Properties also embarked on a new wave of senior living developments. Two new cooperative communities, Applewood Pointe of Bloomington at Southtown and Applewood Pointe of Roseville at Langton Lake, were developed in the first two years of the decade. These properties helped solidify United Properties’ position as an industry leader in cooperative communities, which offer active residents 62 and better the freedom of a maintenance-free lifestyle in a community of like-minded peers.
Spurred by the success of our cooperative communities, our first assisted living community, Cherrywood Pointe of Roseville, opened its doors in 2012 with 80 apartments. Cherrywood Pointe’s continuum of care options create an opportunity for seniors to retain their independence with additional services offered as needed.
Mixed-use development was on the rise, too, as we saw one of our outstanding mixed-use projects, Penn & American in Bloomington, come to fruition. The project converted one of the Twin Cities’ prime intersections from a car lot into a vibrant community complete with residential, retail and restaurant developments. Penn & American quickly became a destination in the heart of Bloomington, and United Properties continues to be involved in additional development in the area.
Full Steam Ahead: 2013–2016
As the decade progressed, United Properties’ role as an increasingly active investor allowed us to pursue more development opportunities. Rather than using a long-term buy-and-hold approach, we began to move properties in and out of the portfolio, freeing up capital to do more on the development side.
We then saw an influx of retail development: In 2013, half of our projects were retail. This encompassed single-tenant net lease projects with Advance Auto Parts, Caribou Coffee and Gander Mountain, as well as renovations of retail strip malls in the Midwest and Colorado.
In 2014, another North Loop development came to fruition: Be The Match Headquarters joined the Ford Center in the formerly industrial neighborhood. This build-to-suit project included many progressive amenities, a public restaurant, as well as custom touches, including an interactive sidewalk harp that plays music when pedestrians walk by.
In addition, we acquired the first two floors of the former Saks building within Gaviidae Common on Nicollet Mall and introduced multiple retailers, including a marquee Walgreens store, which serves the booming downtown population and workforce.
We also sparked a series of major industrial developments, both in and outside the Twin Cities. The Denver team brought Enterprise Business Center (EBC) in Stapleton to life, responding to market demand for state-of-the-art industrial space and accounting for nearly 2 million sq. ft. of development. United Properties’ innovative approach earned back-to-back Industrial Development of the Year awards from the Colorado Chapter of NAIOP in 2014 and 2015. In Minnesota, market-leading projects Northcross Business Park in Brooklyn Park and Red Rock Business Park in Maple Grove also grew our industrial portfolio.
The asset management side of the business also responded to this demand by making a strategic shift toward acquiring Class A industrial properties into the company’s stable portfolio. As a landlord, United Properties has consistently performed above the market occupancy rate, attracting and retaining tenants with our highly responsive, personalized approach.
In 2016, we saw a boom in senior living developments with exciting projects in Minnetonka, Plymouth and Roseville, responding to a shift in the demographic landscape. United Properties’ senior living teams developed and filled these communities swiftly, responding to and reflecting accelerated demand.
We also acquired the remaining empty portion of the former Saks building in downtown Minneapolis, referred to as 7th & Nic. This modern office space located in the heart of the city became United Properties’ new headquarters and was profiled in the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal’s “Cool Offices” feature.
Up next: Part II of our 2010s retrospective will cover the end of the decade and look ahead at what’s to come in the 2020s.