City Weighs Grain Belt Proposals; Travelers Expands Holdings by 11 Assets

By Camelia Bulea, Associate Editor Four redevelopment proposals for the site of the historic Grain Belt Brewery office building and an adjacent parcel are competing for approval from city officials. The proposal that seems to be drawing the most community enthusiasm so [...]

Four redevelopment proposals for the site of the historic Grain Belt Brewery office building and an adjacent parcel are competing for approval from city officials.

The proposal that seems to be drawing the most community enthusiasm so far is Diversified Equities’ plan to turn the 118-year-old office building, which has been closed since 1999, into an event center. Diversified Equities would also develop a 125-unit multifamily project on the adjacent parcel. In a non-binding vote held Sept. 26, members of the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization gave the Diversified proposal the highest number of votes. Diversified’s long-term strategy is to turn the apartments into for-sale properties once the market sufficiently improves, the Twin Cities Daily Planet reported.

The second-favorite proposal among the community organization members is a concept from  Everwood Development and Kaas Wilson Architects, which want to build market-rate rental apartments in 98-unit and 52-unit buildings. Additionally, the Everwood-Kaas Wilson proposal implies that the firms would co-occupy the office building, according to the Daily Planet.

Another candidate, Collaborative Design Group, proposed only the renovation of the 1893 office building, which has been closed for a dozen years; as for the adjacent parcel, the company says it is open to partnering with a developer. That proposal received little support from the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization. A fourth proposal, from Griffin Companies, received no votes from the community group.

The city’s plan for the Grain Belt site is to sell the office building for $50.000 and the vacant land $1.4 million. Except for Griffin Cos., the other three candidates said they could execute the project without further help from the city, the Daily Planet said. The city council’s development committee is expected to receive a staff recommendation in November.

In recent Twin Cities transaction news,  The Travelers Cos. recently purchased 11 office and warehouse buildings from Waterton Commercial and Lehman Bros., the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported in an article by Sam Black. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the portfolio totals 574,000 square feet and is located in Roseville and Shoreview.

The acquisition complements Travelers’ existing portfolio in the area, which encompasses 27 buildings. The largest two buildings are both located in Roseville and encompass 160,000 square feet. Transwestern, which arranged the transaction, will stay on to handle property management and leasing duties, the Business Journal added.