10 real estate developments that will shape the Twin Cities in 2023 – The Business Journals

Rendering of Hines’ proposed office tower at 900 S. Marquette Ave.
COOKFOX Architects via Hines
As 2023 gets under way, developers are working on landscape-shaping projects this year that will bring a massive amount of housing, entertainment options, shopping and office space to the Twin Cities.
Many of these projects have been in the works for years, while others are newer or revolve around repurposing underutilized real estate. Whether they’re building new office buildings, neighborhoods, luxury apartments or technology centers, developers are expected to make waves with their projects in 2023.
The Business Journal selected these 10 projects based on the impact they will have on the Twin Cities landscape.
The Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) redevelopment is a project of historic size and significance for Minneapolis’ Northside.
The UHT site runs 1 mile along the Mississippi River. Once home to a barge terminal, the 53-acre property will eventually be the site of an entirely new neighborhood — one with an amphitheater run by First Avenue, several housing structures with affordable units, a 20-acre park, health hub, retail uses and manufacturing facilities.
UHT is also being built with an eye toward the Northside: The development team aims to bring jobs and affordable housing to the community; proceeds from ground-lease payments will be directed into the North Minneapolis community, specifically for anti-gentrification and anti-displacement programs.
The city selected Minneapolis-based United Properties to serve as the project’s master developer. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization are also partnering on UHT.
The development team plans to hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony for UHT this spring, but complete construction of the site — like all the housing and industrial facilities — is likely more than a decade away.
Indianapolis-based Scannell Properties and Plymouth-based Roers Cos. are partnering on a redevelopment of the former Prudential office campus at 13001 Bass Lake Road in Plymouth.
It’s a massive project that will revitalize a 75-acre site currently home to an aging office building. City staff have said the redevelopment is a great opportunity to diversify the city’s tax base and bring needed housing, jobs and amenities to the city.
Initial plans show that developers want to bring a mixed-use neighborhood to the site. The property could eventually be home to five residential buildings with up to 1,000 housing units, a grocery store, a cluster of retail shops, restaurants and a business park, according to the developer’s plans.
The redevelopment will replace Prudential’s former 400,000-square-foot office building, which the company sold to the development team in August for $20 million. Prudential is moving its employees to downtown Minneapolis.
In November, Scannell submitted an environmental review application to the city. The city of Plymouth hasn’t yet set a date to have the City Council review the application. This fall, when the initial development plans were released, the developers indicated that work could start as early as this summer on the project.
The first residents of Highland Bridge began moving into their homes last year, but work on the site is far from over.
Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc. is the lead developer of Highland Bridge, which will ultimately result in the creation of a mixed-use neighborhood on the former Ford Motor Co. site in southwestern St. Paul.
Structures containing rowhouses, market-rate apartments, a Lunds & Byerlys, senior housing, income-restricted senior housing, and a medical-office building home to anhave already risen on the site. Two parks and most streets within Highland Bridge have opened, while future work on the site includes the construction of custom homes and more affordable housing, according to the development’s website.
Eventually, Highland Bridge could also be home to new baseball and softball fields, as well as indoor training and parking facilities for the University of St. Thomas.
Life Time Group Holdings Inc. released initial plans to build a 32-story, luxury apartment tower at Southdale Center in Edina this past year.
Chanhassen-based Life Time (NYSE: LTH) is partnering with the mall’s owner, Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, on the project. The development duo envisions constructing around 300 units, several rooftop amenities, a parking podium, an outdoor pool and more on the mall’s northern edge.
The tower would be “a curated living project like no other in the Twin Cities,” the team wrote in the plans submitted to the city.
Before any work can start on the project, the developers need to navigate city approvals — and that might not be an easy feat. An architect working on behalf of the city of Edina, in reviewing plans for the tower, criticized the project, noting it didn’t align with city-set guidelines for the Southdale area.
However, this feedback was nonbinding and based on only initial development plans for the tower. Life Time and Simon (NYSE: SPG) still have an opportunity to alter their plans if they decide to do so.
Mall of America’s owner has big plans for a vacant parking lot next to the Bloomington megamall.
The city approved Triple Five Group’s plans to build a 320,000-square-foot water park with a food hall, water slides, beach fronts and more in March 2022. At the time of approval, Triple Five planned to start work that summer, but construction hasn’t yet begun.
This fall, the city approved an expansion of tax increment financing for developments like the water park near the Mall of America. This means developments in the area now have access of up to $95.2 million in TIF funding. However, other potential projects in the MOA area, including a sports or entertainment venue, could tap into that money, too.
The TIF expansion couldn’t have come at a better time for Triple Five. The initial estimated cost of the project, $422 million, has risen by $10 million to $30 million as of this summer, the Business Journal reported.
Triple Five eventually plans to build a hotel to support the water park.
The water park and future hotel are also located in an area that could soon see an explosion of new development. In June, the Bureau International des Expositions member countries will decide if Minnesota and the U.S. should host the Expo 2027, an event often referred to as a World’s Fair. If selected, a slate of new buildings, structures, public features and more will be constructed around MOA to support Expo activity.
Three prime redevelopment sites came on the market late last year — the long-closed Sears stores in St. Paul, Burnsville and Maplewood.
The owner of the stores, Seritage Growth Properties, listed the three properties for sale right before Thanksgiving and promptly saw high interest from investors and developers, according to a broker with Colliers, which has the listings.
The sites for sale include the former Sears store in St. Paul near the State Capitolthat has been eyed for redevelopment for years, and the former anchor Sears stores at Maplewood Mall and Burnsville Center. No other parts of Maplewood Mall or Burnsville Center are included in the sale listing.
Seritage previously planned to redevelop the St. Paul site into a mixed-use neighborhood. A new owner would have the opportunity to do so or pursue another plan and will have to work with the state’s Capitol Area Architectural and Planning Board to do so.
In Burnsville, redevelopment of the former Sears box is exciting for the city, and the city of Burnsville has done everything it can to make the mall area, including the Sears site, shovel ready. In Maplewood, redevelopment of the vacant Sears space is hoped to bring more foot traffic to the mall.
Despite a downturn in the office market, developers are planning and building new offices in the Twin Cities — and are seeing tenants take interest in their plans.
An under-construction tower on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, called North Loop Green, just signed its anchor tenant. Piper Sandler Cos. will take on 113,000 square feet of one of the buildings in the development when it opens in 2024. North Loop Green, developed by Houston-based Hines, will also have market-rate housingunits, short-term rentals, public green space, and food and drink options.
In St. Louis Park, Ryan’s 10 West End saw “unprecedented” leasing activity despite opening in the midst of the pandemic. This prompted the Minneapolis-based developer to start work on a sister office building, called 20 West End. Ryan hopes to start work on the office building next year, but it first aims to secure an anchor tenant and line up financing for the project.
Ryan isn’t the only developer looking for an anchor tenant in the region.
Hines announced plans to build a 29-story office tower in downtown Minneapolis — and it’s also looking for a big tenant to kickstart the project. The tower, planned for a surface parking lot at 900 S. Marquette Ave., would have around 700,000 square feet of office space.
Hines and local office experts think there are enough office tenants to fill these buildings, but it may come at the expense of older office buildings.
Having won approval from the city in September, work to overhaul a block in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood is poised to get underway soon.
Chicago developer Northpond Partners will bring 270 market-rate apartments, a restaurant and small market to a block that’s home to the Seven Points retail center, formerly known as Calhoun Square. A rooftop venue, Arts & Rec Uptown, opened in the Seven Points mall back in August.
To make way for the new building, the developer plans on demolishing and replacing several structures on the southern portion of the block, including part of the Seven Points mall. Other structures that would be replaced include the CB2 store and the former spaces of Kitchen Window and Famous Dave’s.
The work is occurring in a neighborhood that’s experienced a fair number of retail closures. Window Kitchen and CB2 closed, as well as Williams Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar, Stella’s Fish Cafe, and Amore Uptown.
One of the most prominent examples of downtown Minneapolis’ strong residential market is Sherman Associates’ plan to redevelop an entire city block near the Mill District.
The Minneapolis-based developer plans to construct three towers with a myriad of uses that would replace a building that formerly housed the Wells Fargo Operations Center at 255 Second Ave. S.
The largest of the three towers will be an approximately 25-story, mixed-use building and another will be around 20 stories and contain market-rate apartments. The third building will be a 10-story, mixed-income apartment.
Specific uses on the site include multifamily, retail, restaurants, and there’s potential for office, condominium or a hotel on the block, too.
Sherman has enlisted restaurateur David Fhima and his foodie family to create a “vibrant food and beverage district” in the development. The Fhima family will open a flagship restaurant, which they will own and operate with other local chefs, and lead efforts to fill other restaurant and retail spaces at the site.
Work is expected to start on the $400 million project, called Harmonia, in the fall and open in 2026, according to the developer’s website.
A proposed — and mysterious — 280-acre technology campus in Rosemount, dubbed Project Bigfoot, appeared late in 2022.
An anonymous company, operating as Jimnist LLC, plans to construct a tech campus on 280 acres of UMore Park land, which is currently owned by the University of Minnesota.
The tech campus would have five one-story buildings and mechanical yards, all of which would be surrounded by a security fence with gatehouses. Uses planned for all five of the buildings include a combined approximately 40,000 square feet of office space, servers and support equipment. No distribution or production will occur on the site.
Xcel Energy Inc. is also planning to construct a substation on the site, which will support the high-technology use of the campus.
City officials got their first look at the project in late December, when its master development plan was reviewed and approved by the City Council. Still, it will need additional approvals from the city before construction can start, at which time more may be known about what company is behind Jimnist.
The project team plans to start construction next summer and work is likely to span several years.
Please join us as we honor Michael Happe, president and CEO of Winnebago Industries Inc., as our 2023 Executive of the Year.
The Business Journal is seeking nominations for its 26th annual Women in Business awards.
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