Industrial Realty Buys IBM’s 1.3 MSF Minnesota Campus

The commercial and industrial real estate investor plans to bring new tenants to the 490-acre property, where IBM will continue to occupy several buildings and, ultimately, a mixed-use development will take shape.

IBM Rochester
IBM campus in Rochester, Minn.

Industrial Realty Group LLC has wrapped up the acquisition of IBM’s technology campus in Rochester, Minn., a 3.1 million-square-foot property roughly 85 miles south of Minneapolis. IBM will continue to occupy digs at the 490-acre site, which, ultimately, IRG will transform into a mixed-use destination.

The change in ownership of the sprawling multi-structure property formerly known as IBM Rochester was no simple accomplishment; the transaction took more than a full year to complete, and IRG relied on the guidance of law firm Fainsbert Mase Brown & Sussman LLP all the way. “The legal team expertly navigated the intricacies of this complex transaction, ensuring the asset was smoothly incorporated into IRG’s portfolio,” John Mase, CEO of Industrial Realty Group, said in a prepared statement.

With the deal closed, IRG is in possession of a veritable piece of tech-industry history. IBM first envisioned the development in 1956 as a 400,000-square-foot complex of manufacturing, engineering and educational facilities to be developed at a cost of $8 million. The concept expanded and in 1958, the Eero Saarinen-designed campus opened, featuring 550,000 square feet. Several decades and many additions later, the property is home to 34 buildings encompassing office, manufacturing, warehouse, data center and laboratory space. And now the campus is positioned for a new incarnation.

IBM ROCHESTER VERSION 2.0

With IBM committing to just eight buildings under a long-term lease, IRG is left with quite a large blank canvas to fill as it sees fit. Details of the master plan haven’t been nailed down just yet, but 60 years after its birth, IBM Rochester will be reinvented under quite a different vision.

“IRG plans to create a dynamic campus, which will encompass a mix of uses and support the needs of the site and the Rochester market,” Mase told Commercial Property Executive. “Our goal is to drive economic growth in the area by aggressively marketing the existing space and developing a long-term strategy with the Rochester community to continue attracting new companies and job opportunities to the area.”  The site presents any number of options, but IRG does not plan to build just for building’s sake. As Mase added, “Additional development will be driven by the market demands and led by our team of industry experts.”

IRG is no stranger to corporate headquarters campuses. The commercial and industrial real estate investor acquired American Greetings’ 1.6 million-square-foot facility in Brooklyn in 2014, and in 2016, snagged timberlands company Weyerhaeuser’s 817,700-square-foot industrial and office campus in suburban Seattle.

Image courtesy of Industrial Realty Group