Friday, October 1, 2021

Star Tribune

Oppidan to build nine industrial warehouses worth $157M in Minnesota and North Carolina

The company aims to take advantage of intense demand for space in the age of online shopping.

Industrial warehouse properties are hot right now and Excelsior-based Oppidan Investment isn't about to be left out.

The company is building nine speculative warehouse projects worth $157 million in Chaska, Ramsey and in Raleigh, N.C., in partnership with private equity firm Rockpoint Group.

The project will create 1.55 million square feet of industrial space. Some of the construction, at three sites, has already begun.

Oppidan, which typically develops $450 million of U.S. residential, retail and senior living projects each year, is now doing more speculative industrial work, seeking to take advantage of nationwide demand for warehouses and logistical centers as Americans do more online shopping.

Oppidan President Blake Hastings said the company aims to increase its industrial business to around a third of its portfolio.

"We started working on this two years ago to re-emphasize industrial and to spend more time on this," Hastings said. "We saw a lot of the retail world switching into the e-commerce world and the need there. This led us to this strategy to have a greater [industrial] pipeline going forward."

Oppidan, the builder of Pillars of Prospect Park senior housing and the Lowa46 apartments and Cub Foods store in Minneapolis, is now searching for new industrial projects in its other markets, which include Texas, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and California.

In Minnesota, its new project will be two "bulk warehouses" in Chaska worth $37.6 million and marketed as the Chaska Creek Industrial Park.

The first of the two structures is under construction with Mendota-Heights based R.J. Ryan Construction acting as the general contractor. When done in June, Chaska Creek I will have 168,000 square feet.

Construction of Chaska Creek II's 133,000 square feet begins in May and should finish in November 2022.

Oppidan is also building the $44 million Bunker Lake Business Park in Ramsey, about a half hour north of Minneapolis.

Two of those three speculative structures are expected to be completed in the fall of 2022. The third building in Ramsey will be a 147,000 square foot warehouse. Construction begins in the spring.

Oppidan officials said they were excited by the opportunity to build an industrial-focused building for future tenants, as it is the only such project of its kind in the Ramsey area.

The last part of Oppidan's industrial push involves erecting four buildings in Raleigh on a 121-acre site to be called Cash Corporate Life Sciences Park. That project will cost another $77 million.

Construction is expected to start before year's end and will be completed in stages ending in 2022 and 2023.

Separately, Oppidan broke ground Friday on a new 100-unit "Pillars of Lakeville" senior living in Lakeville. It is the firm's seventh senior-living project in Minnesota.

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