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Owner Grubb & Ellis Giving the 222 room Crowne Plaza Northstar Hotel
 in Minneapolis a $4 million Makeover

By Susan Feyder, Star Tribune, MinneapolisMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jun. 29, 2008 - The Northstar Center, downtown Minneapolis' first mixed-use property that includes office and retail space as well as a Crowne Plaza Hotel, is undergoing an ambitious makeover.

The 814,000-square-foot property's facade is being restored, a process that will take three to four years, according to property owner and manager Grubb & Ellis. The work includes tuck-pointing, replacing stone and cleaning the exterior of the three-building complex on the block bounded by Marquette and 2nd Avenues S. and 6th and 7th Streets.

Work on the parking ramp, which includes replacing some concrete and waterproofing, began in April and is expected to be completed in September.

Renovation of the 222-room hotel is underway and is scheduled to be completed later this month. The project, which cost more than $4 million, has included remodeling guest rooms and the lobby and adding a larger Executive Club lounge.

Grubb & Ellis acquired the Northstar Center in December when it merged with the parent company of California-based Triple Net Properties, which got it in a portfolio transaction early in 2007.

The complex has about 645,000 square feet of office space, most of it occupied by Wells Fargo & Co.

Mortgage loan activity

Welsh Capital recently closed almost $28 million in mortgages for several commercial properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The loans were originated with Welsh Capital's correspondent lenders.

The properties ranged from a 9,000-square-foot office building in Hopkins to a 77,660-square-foot industrial building in Franklin, Wis. Apartment buildings, including the 92-unit Camelot Apartments in Brooklyn Park and a 100-unit complex at 2101 E. River Terrace in Minneapolis, also obtained financing.

"The perception that rates have hit bottom and will now rise has led to robust financing activity," said Peter Austin, Welsh Capital senior vice president.

Welsh Capital, part of Bloomington-based Welsh Companies, provides a variety of mortgage financing options for developers, owners and investors of commercial real estate.

Susan Feyder --612-673-1723


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