Opus to Develop $30M Complex Near U of M

The six-story complex will include 120 apartments, retail space on the ground floor, and two levels of below-ground parking.

The Opus Group announced Monday that it has purchased three parcels of land near the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus to develop a $30 million apartment and retail complex called Stadium Village Flats.

Stadium Village Flats will be a six-story complex that will include 120 apartments on the five upper floors, retail space on the ground floor, and two levels of underground parking.

The three parcels of land are located at 810, 814, and 828 Washington Avenue Southeast and were purchased from JFS Desert Fountain Properties, LLC, and Mateer Properties, LLC. The site for the new development currently houses two retail buildings and a parking lot. Site preparation will begin in early 2011, and the project is scheduled to be completed by August 2012.

The complex will include mostly two-bedroom units, along with a mix of studio, one-, three- and four-bedroom units. According to Dave Menke, senior vice president and general manager of Opus Development Corporation, the units will all be furnished with nine-foot ceilings and high-end finishes.

Menke said in a statement that many units will have views of TCF Bank Stadium and that the complex will include a fitness room and lounges on each floor. CVS/pharmacy has committed to lease a portion of the complex's ground-level retail space. An additional 5,000 square feet of retail space is available for lease, according to Menke.

Minneapolis-based Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Inc., has been chosen as the project's architect, and Opus Group subsidiary Opus AE Group, Inc., is the project's structural engineer.

Opus originally announced plans to build at the site in early 2008 but had to scale back plans due to the economy. At that time, the company planned to build an eight- to 10-story building with almost double the number of units.

Opus has been active in the rental housing market for more than seven years, Menke told Twin Cities Business on Tuesday. The company has completed several other student housing projects over the years and is also looking at rental and student-housing projects to develop in its other markets, which include Chicago; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Missouri; and Denver.

After the commercial real estate market began to crumble in 2008, Opus Corporation-which was once Minnesota's 10th-largest private company-and three of its five regional companies struggled to pay off lenders, leading to a spate of lawsuits and ultimately bankruptcy.

In 2009, three of Opus's five regional companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (Opus South and Opus West) or Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation (Opus East). Opus South and Opus West stopped doing business while going through bankruptcy protection, and Opus East also ceased operations.

The Opus Group now operates Opus Development Corporation; Opus Design Build, LLC; and Opus AE Group, Inc.