Thor Companies’ Soon-to-Be HQ is Fully Leased, Target Among Office Tenants
Thor's Regional Acceleration Center, shown roughly two months before it is expected to open in July. (Photo from Thor Companies)

Thor Companies’ Soon-to-Be HQ is Fully Leased, Target Among Office Tenants

Commercial development is returning to north Minneapolis as Thor Companies’ building is fully leased and Wellington Management starts its north side office project.

Fridley-based Thor Companies is nearing completion of a new $36 million office building in north Minneapolis — the largest private development in that corner of the city in decades. The 92,000-square-foot Regional Acceleration Center, set to open in early July, is already fully leased.

Thor Companies — with subsidiaries including Thor Development, Thor Construction, Thor Design Plus, Thor Energy, Thor Consulting and Thor Living — is relocating its headquarters from Fridley to the new building.

Two years ago, Thor founder and chairman Richard Copeland told Twin Cities Business that he wanted his company to serve as a catalyst for economic development, investment and growth in north Minneapolis. Thor ranks as the largest minority-owned company in the state.

“If we don’t step up and do something about it, we don’t think anybody else will,” Copeland told Twin Cities Business in 2016. “Someone’s got to take this on, and it’s the private sector that’s going to make the difference. It’s got to be driven by economics.”

The new building is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Penn and Plymouth Avenues North. The site had been sitting vacant for more than 20 years.

“Our intention for this project has been two-fold all along,” said Ravi Norman, CEO of Thor Cos., in a statement. “One, to build a new home for our growing company, and two, to spark and accelerate community and economic development on the city’s Northside.”

Thor and Minneapolis-based Target Corp. announced forging a “strategic partnership” on the project in January 2017. Target’s commitment was essential to closing on project financing. Target holds a master lease for the entire third floor of the building, but most of that space will be occupied by Thor and the nonprofit Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA).

“Target is the master leaseholder of the building’s third floor and has leased a portion of the space back to Thor. We have also provided a seven-year rental subsidy to MEDA (Metropolitan Economic Development Association) and a $2 million contribution to its office build-out,” said Erin Conroy, a Target spokeswoman, in a statement to Twin Cities Business. “With the remaining space, about 1,000 square feet, we are creating a place for collaboration, community development and innovation that we envision being shared by local non-profit organizations as well as Target teams.”

Hennepin County also has a significant chunk of space in the building; the county owns the entire fourth floor of the project, which it plans to use for NorthPoint Health and Wellness, Hennepin County Health and Human Services and its Corrections Department. MEDA, which offers business development services for minority entrepreneurs, is moving out of downtown Minneapolis to new space at the Thor building.

Ground floor tenants include Sammy’s Deli, the ME & I fitness center and nonprofit agency Build Wealth MN.

As Thor nears completion of its project, another developer is just getting started on another new office building in north Minneapolis.

St. Paul-based Wellington Management Inc. has started site work for a new office project at 212 James Avenue North. The plan originally called for rehabbing a former warehouse on the site into creative office space. But Wellington is now razing the warehouse to build a new 65,000-square-foot office building on the site.

“At the end of the day it came down to costs: the rehab was more expensive,” said David Wellington, director of acquisitions and development for Wellington Management.

Wellington said that the developer does not have any signed leases yet, but is close to signing one tenant. The company is pressing ahead with a “spec” project – a speculative development with no signed leases in hand.

Wellington said that the project could appeal to tenants who want to be close to downtown Minneapolis and Interstate 394, yet be in a location with more of a “neighborhood feel.”

“We are confident. There’s a perception in the brokerage community now that the North Loop is pretty much over from a leasing standpoint,” said Wellington, citing increased parking challenges in that section of downtown Minneapolis.

Wellington said that the Leef Building office project should be set to open in December or January.

A rendering of the Leef Building project from the perspective of Currie Avenue. (Rendering from Wellington Management Inc.)

An aerial perspective of the Leef Building project. (Rendering by Wellington Management Inc.)