How Piper Sandler Ended Up in the North Loop
Set to open in 2024, the North Loop Green development on North 5th Street has landed a 15-year lease covering 113,000 square feet of office space. The move may represent a northward shift from the city’s urban core.
This month, Piper Sandler & Co. signed a lease to occupy about a third of the office space that will be available at the mixed-use development under construction in the North Loop District of downtown Minneapolis. The investment banking firm will relocate from its longtime headquarters at the U.S. Bank building at 8th Street and Nicollet Mall to become the North Loop Green’s anchor tenant in the summer of 2025.
With 125 employees, just over a quarter of Piper Sandler’s Minneapolis staff already live in the North Loop, Piper Sandler managing director and chief information officer Shawn Quant told TCB.
“When you look at some of the elements that were appealing to us, first and foremost would definitely be the location,” he said. “There is just a level of energy and vibrancy that currently exists in the northwest area of downtown.”
As the company faced the 2025 end of its current lease, it considered more than 30 locations across the Twin Cities area. But Quant said the Piper Sandler wanted to remain downtown if possible.
Designed by ESG Architects, the North Loop Green development will offer 350,000 square feet of office space, including exclusive terraces on every floor, flexible workspaces, and a rooftop terrace. The development also features 350 residential apartments, 100 Airbnb-like units, and 15,000 square feet of food and retail offerings. It also will include “The Green,” a one-acre green space that will feature year-round artistic, cultural, and community-based events.
Quant said the outdoor space and other neighborhood amenities were a big draw for Piper Sandler. He said the neighborhood has done a good job creating an atmosphere where people want to live, work, and play.
“So far the response from that junior staff and the staff holistically has been incredible,” Quant said.
It’s no secret downtown workspaces are in a state of flux. City Center is 90% leased, but only about 30 to 40% occupied since Target continues to pay rent on nearly a million square feet of office space in the building that it vacated in 2021. Leasing agents report an occupancy rate of 75% in the IDS Center, according to Accesso Partners. In Dayton’s Project 12-floor building, just 77,000 square feet of office space has been leased to four tenants, leaving 773,000 square feet vacant.
But in 2021, the population in downtown Minneapolis bumped up 5.6 percent to 56,077 residents, according to the downtown council’s latest statistics. New residents in the North Loop have been one of the primary drivers of overall population growth downtown.
As a mixed-use development, North Loop Green has multiple factors that will attract tenants, said Bob Pfefferle, managing director at Hines, which owns the development. In the case of office space, companies began a “flight to quality” even before the pandemic, he noted. State-of-the-art office space was no longer enough; businesses also looked for office space that included high-end amenities and neighborhood appeal.
Pfefferle said his goal with the project is to create a space that serves as a magnet to employees rather than a mandate.
“In vibrant dynamic neighborhood businesses, they’re embracing a more human-centric workplace, meaning one that supports the preferences and needs of individual employees versus just the overall corporate elements,” Pfefferle said. “At the same time, they’re prioritizing sustainability and the hybrid workplace that is now a bigger part of the future of office space.”
Situated directly across from Target Field where all rail lines connect, including the Northstar commuter line. He notes future lines will only increase access to the space, which includes the Southwest line. There’s also the Cedar Lake Trail, a bike superhighway running through the city that connects to the river, lakes, and western suburbs.
“And then, by the way, you’re in the North Loop, which is probably the fastest growing, most dynamic neighborhood in the Twin Cities,” he said. “In the last 15 months alone, I count 35 to 40 new restaurants, retail, boutiques, entertainment facilities, other hotels. It keeps growing.”
He adds that “The Green” offers a unique amenity that appeals to people across the neighborhood. The space is meant to unify not just the people within the development but the community at large, Pfefferle said.
Modeled similar to the Gallagher Way across from Wrigley Field, the development’s one-acre green space will use a space that was once a parking lot. It will become a “highly activated” space with 200 plus events a year.
“The buildings that we’re building will benefit from it, but it will also be a neighborhood asset for people in the North Loop and generally the city,” Pfefferle said.