by Dan Rafter
A 14-story office tower might soon be rising from the busy intersection of Interstate-394 and Interstate-494 in the Carlson Parkway market of Minnetonka, Minnesota.
CBRE, along with partners Artis REIT and Ryan Companies US, Inc., have unveiled plans for a 14-story Class-A office tower at this prime location. The tower, 801 Carlson, will offer more than 317,000 square feet of rentable space in 10 floors that will rise above an executive lobby and climate-controlled parking.
But before construction begins, CBRE will have to secure some pre-leases. The new office tower will not be a spec building, but will need some tenants in place before construction crews get to work.
Brian Wasserman, senior vice president with CBRE, said that he doesn’t expect this to be a problem.
“There has never been a question about this location,” Wasserman said. “The Carlson Parkway market has always been such a strong one. We feel this is one of the best locations in Minnetonka. It is located very close to executive housing on Lake Minnetonka. A regional mall is very close by. The area hasn’t been overbuilt. We feel that this is a very desirable location for an office project.”
The tower’s location will certainly prove a selling point. 801 Carlson will be the only large block opportunity on the Interstate-394 corridor west of Interstate-494. The well-known Carlson Towers are located right next door.
Wasserman said that the aesthetic of 801 Carlson will build on the now-iconic look of Carlson Towers. But the building will distinct enough to stand on its own, he said.
The office tower will feature more than 17,000 square feet of eastern and western balconies on levels five through 14. This is an important amenity. These balconies will provide views of downtown Minneapolis and Lake Minnetonka.
Plans also call for a future restaurant with an outdoor seating area that will wrap around the southeastern corner of the project’s parking structure.
Developers are also planning a covered walkway that will connect 801 Carlson to an 876-stall parking garage and the nearby 601 Carlson Tower, a 16-story Class-A office tower. In all, 801 Carlson will have 1,271 parking stalls, which works out to a ratio of four parking stalls for every 1,000 square feet of space.
Ryan Companies is serving as the developer on this project, while Artis owns the site. Artis is also the owner of the adjacent 601 Carlson Tower.
Wasserman said that the timing is right for a new office tower in the Minnetonka market. The demand is high for quality Class-A space, he said. At the same time, Minnetonka has not seen many spec office buildings in recent years.
“The I-394 market from a Class-A perspective is very tight,” Wasserman said. “There are not very many large blocks of Class-A office space available in that market. Over the next three years, there are going to be plenty of tenants who are now leasing more than 25,000 square feet of office space in the suburbs looking to either renew their leases or find new locations. If we can work with just a small number of those tenants, we’ll have a full building. This is a pretty good time, then, to start marketing this building.”
Wasserman points to the office building’s proposed location as one of its strongest selling points. 801 Carlson will be located just a 12-minute-or-so drive to downtown Minneapolis. It’s also a five-minute drive from the shores of Lake Minnetonka.
“That makes this site very appealing,” Wasserman said.
CBRE just began marketing the office tower in mid-October. It didn’t take long for the inquiries to start coming in, Wasserman said. No tenants have been finalized yet, but Wasserman said that he is encouraged by the early response to the plans.
If CBRE is able to get a lead tenant relatively quickly, construction on 801 Carlson could start soon enough so that the office tower would open by the end of 2017.
“Based on the design, this is going to be the premier office tower in Twin City suburbs,” Wasserman said. “It is going to be pushing the upper limit of rents in the suburbs. A smaller pool of tenants will be looking at this building, but they’ll choose it because it is the best location in the Interstate-394 market.”