74-Acre Land Package Changes Hands Under Opus

The land sale "is part of the orderly wind-down and liquidation of Opus Northwest's assets for the benefit of its creditors," according to a turnaround professional who's overseeing the liquidation.

A 74-acre land package recently changed hands from one Opus Group entity to another.

Opus Northwest, LLC, sold the package to Opus RPLand, LLC-an entity created specifically for the sale that's controlled by family trusts linked to Opus founder Gerald Rauenhorst. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Minnetonka-based Opus Group said Monday that the 74-acre package, which comprises all of Opus Northwest's remaining Minnesota and South Dakota land assets, includes:

  • a surface parking lot located at Fifth Street between Nicollet Mall and Marquette Avenue (where the Powers department store previously stood)
  • a spot at 701 Third Avenue North near the Accenture Tower
  • two sites in downtown Minneapolis
  • 11 retail center outlets (six at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove, one at Woodbury Lakes in Woodbury, and four at Shoppes on Maine in Rochester)
  • 40 acres of industrial land in Shakopee
  • five acres of land in Cambridge
  • seven acres of land in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which was subsequently sold to an affiliate of Sioux Falls-based Lloyd Companies

James Bartholomew, a certified turnaround professional with Lighthouse Management Group, Inc., which is overseeing Opus Northwest's liquidation, said that the sale of “is part of the orderly wind-down and liquidation of Opus Northwest's assets for the benefit of its creditors.”

Bartholomew told Twin Cities Business on Tuesday afternoon that Opus Northwest's remaining assets are estimated to be worth more than $100 million-and those assets will be sold off over the next 18 months to two-and-a-half years. He also said that Opus Northwest previously tried to sell the land parcels from the 74-acre package on an individual basis, but the company didn't receive any “acceptable bids.” He declined to reveal the specific price that RPLand paid for the package, other than to say that it was a “fairly substantial” sum.

The Opus group of companies was once a real estate powerhouse that employed at least 2,000. But that group was hit hard by the downturn in commercial real estate markets amid the recession. In 2009, three of Opus' five regional subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation and stopped doing business.

Opus Northwest made it through 2009. But in early 2010, it hired a corporate finance and turnaround firm to explore whether it should seek a sale or capital infusion. In May 2010, newly restructured parent company Opus Holding, LLC, bought the construction and design assets of Opus Northwest and created a new entity for those assets-Opus Design Build, LLC. (Opus Holding also bought Opus North in December 2009 and renamed it Opus Development Corporation.) Opus Northwest has since been preparing to close up shop.

The Opus Group now includes Opus Holding, LLC, and Opus Holding, Inc., and their operating subsidiaries-Opus Development Corporation; Opus Design Build, LLC; and architectural arm Opus AE Group, Inc.