Friday, January 10, 2020

Finance & Commerce

STARR power: Retail projects honored

Unconventional grocery stores, shops and restaurants at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and new suburban retail space were some 2019 retail projects that set the tone for the year.

The Minnesota Shopping Center Association on Dec. 3 recognized 15 projects and three individuals with awards at its 2019 Shopping Center Tribute Awards for Retail Real Estate, also known as the STARR awards.

As has happened in past years, a mixed-use apartment and retail building was the largest project recognized at the event, which was held at the Golden Valley Country Club.

Lowa46, a 148-unit apartment building constructed atop a new, 48,000-square-foot Cub Foods at 4621 Snelling Ave. in Minneapolis, took the top award for mixed-use retail projects. Excelsior-based Oppidan developed the project on a former warehouse property about a block south of the 46th Street Station on the Blue Line light rail route. The approximately $40 million project opened in 2018, with the grocery store starting operations that spring. The apartments are about 90% leased, said Drew Johnson, Oppidan’s vice president of development. The project was first proposed in 2017.

The win for Lowa46 comes three years after a similar project, the 210-unit Vintage on Selby in St. Paul, won both the mixed-use and development process categories at the MSCA event. That project includes a 46,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market.

The grocery and apartment mixed-use model has been popular in recent years, Johnson said in an interview, but the pace of development for similar projects has slowed to one every two to three years in the metro area.

“It’s a product type that has acceptance in this market, but everything has to be just right to be successful,” he said.

Lowa46 still has 3,000 square feet of retail space empty and available for lease.

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