by Dan Rafter
Minneapolis’ commercial real estate success is no secret. Just ask officials with Laurus Corporation.
The Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm at the end of January made its first acquisition in the Minneapolis area, purchasing the 190,000-square-foot Woodlake Centre in suburban Richfield, Minn.
The mixed-use development is home to office and medical tenants, and is anchored by a Houlihan’s restaurant. The development is also the site of an M&I Bank location.
Austin Khan, chief investment officer of Laurus Corporation, said that company officials are excited to have broken into the strong Minneapolis market.
“We think Minneapolis is an incredibly dynamic market,” Khan said during a phone interview. “The concentration of significant office users and Fortune 500 companies there is strong. And, specifically for our investment, we’re also excited about the strength of the medical office segment in that market.”
The goal of Laurus officials is to attract a greater number of medical and professional users to the facility. Right now, Khan said, the Woodlake Centre is an underperforming property.
But Khan expects this to change. Laurus plans to make several millions of dollars worth of capital improvements to the property, he said.
“We want to make it a real anchor in the community for medical and professional services,” Khan said. “There are some great medical tenants in the building already. We think we can build it up even more. We can make this a destination for community members with medical needs. As we continue to invest in the building it will be a very attractive space for medical tenants and professional services.”
The Woodlake Centre does have plenty of positives. It is located close to the interchanges for Interstate-494 and Interstate-35. More than 1,000 new residential multi-family units are within walking distance of the center. And many of these new units cater to active adult living and seniors care.
The Southlake Centre and Galleria Edina malls are less than two miles from the property. These retail destinations feature more than 180 stores and dining options. The 4.2-million-square-foot Mall of America and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are 10 minutes from Woodlake Centre.
Jean Paul Szita, co-founder and chief financial officer of Laurus Corporation, said that his company plans to add several new amenities to the center, including a cafe, concierge services and improved parking.
“Our first acquisition in the Minneapolis market is a prime example of Laurus’ ability to identify opportunistic assets in regional markets that display robust demand drivers and tremendous upside for potential investors,” Szita said in a written statement.
The Woodlake Centre might be Laurus’ first acquisition in the Minneapolis market, but it probably won’t be the last. Khan said that the Minneapolis market is one that’s not only strong today but will certainly be strong for years.
And that makes it an attractive market for Laurus, he said.
“We are not alone in looking at Minneapolis,” Khan said. “There is a lot of interest in this market. And it’s for a good reason. When you look at the growth of the market, it looks to be a very attractive market for investors for years to come.”