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United Prop. Looking to Repeat Ford Center Success

The company is eyeing Shapco Printing's building-which is near Target Field and across the street from the Ford Center-for the development of a multi-story office building.

United Properties' recent transformation of the Ford Center in downtown Minneapolis has given the company a good indication that there is a market for office space in the area. That success recently prompted United Properties to look at purchasing Shapco Printing's building right across the street from the Ford Center.

Bill Katter, senior vice president at United Properties, confirmed Tuesday that the company has signed an option to purchase the building, which is located at 524 North Fifth Street near Target Field and the Ford Center.

United Properties owns the Ford Center, which is currently undergoing a $40 million renovation. Two new tenants have been secured-ad agency Olson and HGA Architects and Engineers-and will join existing tenant Caldrea. The three companies together will occupy about 90 percent of the building's space after the renovation is completed this fall, and the building has seen a lot of interest, according to Katter.

Katter said that the Shapco building project is in the preliminary stages, adding that the company will start formulating concept plans and talking with the city later this year and will decide sometime next year whether to move forward with the purchase agreement.

If the deal goes through, Katter said that United Properties will do a total redevelopment of the one-story building, which is located on a 49,720-square-foot lot and has an assessed value of about $1.3 million, according to Hennepin County property records.

"We think the area will continue to emerge," Katter told Twin Cities Business. "Office tenants have indicated an interest in Ford Center and we think the [potential new] site could attract that kind of tenant, and possibly retail and residential [tenants]."

When asked about a circulating rumor that the National Marrow Donor Program could be a possible tenant, Katter would say only that the company is aware that the organization is looking for space.

Celeste Gervais, spokeswoman for the National Marrow Donor Program, confirmed Tuesday that the organization is looking for a new home to accommodate its growing work force and has hired local real estate consulting firm Nelson, Tietz & Hoye to help.

She said that it is looking at multiple locations around the Twin Cities and would like to find a space that could house all of its employees under one roof-the company is currently split between three locations in Northeast Minneapolis, and its leases for those locations don't expire until 2015.

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