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Torgerson Properties Adds Two New Homewood Suites, One in New Brighton
 and One in St. Louis Park, Minneapolis for a Combined Cost of $34 million

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

Jan. 18, 2010--Like other commercial development, hotel construction has clearly tailed off from the boom that added hundreds of new rooms to the Twin Cities a few years ago.

Even so, some hotel projects are getting done, including two upscale hotels built by Willmar-based Torgerson Properties that opened this month.

The Homewood Suites Minneapolis/St. Paul-New Brighton at County Road 96 and Interstate 35W has 124 suites. The 125-suite Homewood Suites Minneapolis/St. Louis Park at West End is in the new West End mixed-used development near I-394 and Hwy. 100. The combined cost of the projects was $34 million, Torgerson said.

Homewood Suites is a Hilton brand that now has more than 280 hotels nationwide with about 120 in development.

Torgerson said it expects the new hotels to attract business and leisure travelers, with rates for a studio suite starting at $159 a night. Rates for one-bedroom and two-bedroom/two-bath suites range from $179 to $219.

Torgerson operates 28 hotels in Minnesota and Florida under the Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental, Cendant and Carlson brands.

The company is in the early stages of developing a Homewood Suites in Rochester near St. Marys Hospital and adjacent to a Courtyard by Marriott that Torgerson also developed.

NorthMarq named receiver

Hennepin County District Court recently appointed NorthMarq as receiver of eight buildings that make up part of a stalled redevelopment project at Edina's Pentagon Park.

A loan on the properties went into default last summer, and a sheriff's foreclosure sale has been scheduled for Jan. 22. The default and pending foreclosure do not include six other buildings in the office park at Hwy. 100 and 77th Street.

The receivership puts Bloomington-based NorthMarq in charge of property management, accounting and leasing for the eight buildings. They total 288,000 square feet and currently are 70 percent leased, said Andy Sundgaard, senior vice president of business development at NorthMarq.

"Receivership work is becoming a growing part of our service business as commercial real estate markets continue to struggle," Sundgaard said.

He said NorthMarq is working on 15 projects that involve either receiverships or consulting with lenders on financially troubled properties. Sundgaard said that in addition to Pentagon Park, its largest assignment to date, NorthMarq recently was appointed as receiver of a 100,000-square-foot industrial property in New Hope.

Wayzata Properties had been overseeing the stalled redevelopment at Pentagon Park, which was bought in 2005 by several limited liability business entities controlled by Maciek Kaminski, Wayzata Properties' owner.

The buildings that are in default were to be demolished to make way for a 149-room hotel, two office buildings totaling about 700,000 square feet and two parking decks.

Susan Feyder --612-673-1723


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