Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Finance & Commerce

Just Sold: Oppidan enters crowded self-storage market

Editor’s note: “Just Sold” is a Finance & Commerce feature based on certificates of real estate value recently filed for commercial transactions and significant residential transactions in Twin Cities counties. Additional details in the transactions come from Plat Research, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, company documents, online real estate listings, F&C archives, CoStar and other research. Some purchase prices and per-unit calculations have been rounded.

Excelsior-based Oppidan has entered the self-storage market, paying $7.2 million for a St. Paul office-warehouse it plans to convert to 854 storage units managed by industry giant Public Storage.

KTJ 344 LLC, an Oppidan entity, closed Thursday on a two-story, 116,129-square-foot, Class B office-warehouse, built in 1996 on 8.3 acres at 785 Montreal Way in the Crosby Lake Business Center in St. Paul. The price works out to $62 per square foot.

“This is our first self-storage project and an exciting extension of our business because it will complement our other types of development, including senior housing and multifamily,” said developer Ian Halker of Oppidan.

The tenant, who leases the entire building, plans to stay through the end of January 2020, Halker said. When the building is vacant, Oppidan will start its conversion. It should be completed by the end of the second quarter.

Warehouse conversions typically involve keeping the outer shell of a warehouse intact and retrofitting the interior with a framework that creates two levels of storage units. Warehouse drive-in doors allow customers year-round access to their units.

The Excelsior company has a broad national portfolio of apartment, retail, industrial and office projects. It’s entering a market that’s crowded with established local and national facilities and developers trying to find sites for new or converted buildings., an online search engine for storage facilities, lists 130 options in the Twin Cities. The National Self Storage Association estimates there are more than 50,000 facilities across the U.S., generating more than $35 billion in revenue

Oppidan is coming into the game late, but with a strong partner.

Public Storage, based in Glendale, California, is the world’s largest owner, operator and developer of self-storage facilities, according to its website. It has nearly 2,500 facilities across the United States serve more than 1 million customers.

Oppidan will own the real estate for the facility, while Public Storage operates.

The building has seen a series of mergers and acquisitions involving its former owner, EMC School, which became part of Carnegie Learning Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in turn a part of New Mountain Learning, which was part of the portfolio of The Wicks Group, a private investment firm in New York. In 2018 Wicks sold New Mountain to CIP-Capital in New York. EMC provides learning resources and services for grades 6-12 world languages and English language arts.

Purchase price: $7.2 million, with a $3.46 million down payment and new financing

Price per square foot: $62

The transaction: N/A

Last sale: N/A; Ramsey County values the property at $7.6 million for tax purposes

Date of deed: 11-7-19

ECRV released: 11-8-19

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