Walker & Dunlop named a best workplace in financial services industry

Walker & Dunlop has been named one of the best workplaces in the financial services and insurance industries by Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine.

“Being recognized as a best workplace stands out as one of the highest honors that we can receive as a company,” said Howard Smith, president of Walker & Dunlop, in a statement.

Best workplaces were chosen based on surveys from more than 62,000 people working at financial firms.

Source: MN News

Stantec hires former Minneapolis deputy public works director

Heidi Hamilton

Former City of Minneapolis deputy public works director Heidi Hamilton has joined the St. Paul, Minnesota, leadership team for global design firm Stantec.

A long-time municipal engineering leader, Hamilton will be the team leader overseeing a team of planning, landscape architecture and specialty engineering professionals. As senior project manager, she will work within the municipal engineering group and manage projects for new and existing Stantec clients.

Hamilton has more than 20 years of municipal engineering experience, including nine as deputy director of public works for the City of Minneapolis.

Source: MN News

Kraus-Anderson hires director of development

Erica Arne

Kraus-Anderson Development has hired Erica Arne as director of development in the company’s Bloomington, Minnesota, office.

She will manage the company’s development process, providing design and development expertise during site selection, due diligence, acquisition and construction.

Arne comes to KA Development following 12 years with Target Corporation. Most recently she served as lead designer, where she developed store concepts and interior designs.

Source: MN News

Are the days of soaring apartment rents coming to an end?

Monthly apartment rents across the country remain high. But it appears that these rents might be rising at a slower clip throughout 2017.

Yardi Matrix recently released its February rent survey, finding that the average U.S. monthly apartment rent held steady during the month at $1,306. That figure is unchanged from the previous month, according to the survey of 124 markets by Yardi Matrix.

While year-over-year rents in some metropolitan areas — such as Sacramento and the Inland Empire in California — rose during February, most of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas are reverting to flat or modest growth.

Yardi Matrix researchers don’t consider this a sign of long-term weakness in the multifamily sector. That’s because household formation and occupancy rates are expected to remain strong throughout the rest of 2017.

The days of soaring rent increases each month, though, might be over for now.

Monthly rents across the United States were up 2.8 percent this February when compared to the same month one year earlier. Yardi Matrix reports that apartment rents in February were the same as they were in July of 2016.

Yardi Matrix researchers do expect several Midwest markets to see modest multifamily rent growth in 2017. Nashville should see apartment rents rise by 4.5 percent this year, according to the survey, while apartment rents in Minneapolis/St. Paul shoudl increase by 4.2 percent. In Chicago, Yardi predicts that rents will increase 3.3 percent throughout the year, while they should increase by 3.1 percent in Kansas City.

Source: MN News

St. Paul’s CoBeck Construction Company hires two industry veterans

Mike Larson

Ross Nelson

South St. Paul, Minnesota-based CoBeck Construction Company has added Mike Larson as project manager/MEP coordinator and Ross Nelson as project manager.

Larson has been a project manager in the Twin Cities construction industry since 2002. Larson’s professional experience includes design, estimation and mechanical contracting.

Ross joins CoBeck with more than 23 years in the construction industry as a project manager. He has managed a diverse portfolio of projects, including healthcare, warehouse and industrial, education and hospitality facilities.

Source: MN News

Cushman & Wakefield NorthMarq helps bring staging solutions company to Minneapolis-area business park

Minneapolis-based Staging Concepts will move into 65,000 square feet in the recently completed 169 North Business Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Cushman & Wakefield NorthMarq executive directors Brent Masica and Jason Meyer represented the Opus Group in the lease negotiations. Staging Concepts will move into the 145,800-square-foot building that was built in 2015.

Staging Concepts is a manufacturer of modular, custom staging solutions for event venues.

The 169 North Business Center includes 24-foot-clear heights and sits at the intersection of Highway 169 and 85th Avenue in Brooklyn Park. About 80,000 square feet remains available for lease at the property.

Source: MN News

Five national retailers that are barely hanging on

This isn’t a great time for large, traditional retailers. Commercial brokerage Marcus & Millichap recently released its 2017 national retail report. That report said that non-traditional, service-based and value retailers — everything from dollar stores to nail salons to restaurants and adult-focused arcades — are continuing to grow.

Traditional clothing, department and electronics stores? They keep struggling, and many of them are closing hundreds of stores in 2017.

There’s an obvious reason for this: Consumers are increasingly buying clothings, books, electronics, outdoor apparel, hardware and music online. Many consumers prefer ordering these items from retailers such as Amazon and Zappos instead of traveling to brick-and-mortar stores.

Stu Wangard, chairman and chief executive officer of Milwaukee’s Wangard Partners, has seen this trend clearly.

Wangard said that Milwaukee’s retail market is seeing a bit of a rebirth. But it is a changing market.

The Milwaukee retail market is moving from large traditional department stores to smaller specialty stores, he said. Service businesses are on the rise, too, everything from fitness clubs to nail salons.

The retailers that are thriving? Those that are offering products and services that customers can’t simply order from a Web page.

“It’s obvious who the winners are and those who are going through downsizing,” Wangard said. “In each category, there is a winner. Those dominant winners are adding square footage at the right spot and the right size.”

The National Retail Federation reported that February retail sales across the country grew 0.8 percent when compared to the same month one year earlier. Online sales, though, saw a bigger jump, with the federation reporing that online and other non-store sales jumped a much healthier 8.2 percent this February when compared with 12 months earlier.

Meanwhile, sales at clothing and accessories stores fell 1.1 percent this February when compared to the same month in 2016. Sales at general merchandise stores fell 1.4 percent during the same time period, and electronics and appliance retailers saw the biggest fall, their sales dropping 9.8 percent this February when compared to the same month one year earlier.

Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with the National Retail Federation, described consumer spending in the first half of this year as “erratic and most often weak.”

Again, service businesses, including restaurants, are bucking this trend. Daniel Ortega, a vice president with Colliers International, highlights this when he estimates that food-related spaces take up 25 percent to 30 percent more square footage in retail centers today than they did 10 years ago.

And don’t expect this trend to lessen. The National Restaurant Association said that 2016 ranked as the seventh consecutive year of growth in restaurant-business sales. The association said restaurant industry sales hit $783 billion last year.

So, what retailers are struggling? There are many, and, as is to be expected, most of them fit into the traditional large-scale retail mode.

Here is a list of the five retail giants that are struggling the most in 2017:

J.C. Penney: This veteran big-name retailer is hemorrhaging stores. The company recently announced that it was closing 138 under-performing stores across the country.

In a written statement, the company’s chief executive officer, Marvin Ellison, said that the closures are a step in helping to rejuvenate the department store chain.

“We believe closing stores will allow us to adjust our business to effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” Ellison said.

Sears Holdings: It seems as if Sears has been struggling forever. This year looks to be especially bleak for the once-dominant retailer. Sears — along with Kmart — will close 150 stores this year. This comes after the chains shuttered 130 locations in 2016.

Radio Shack: The electronics retailer filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015. It did the same earlier this year. Radio Schack also announced that it is closing 552 more stores across the country. That comes out to 36 percent of its locations.

Many of the retailer’s closings are in the Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Macy’s: It’s difficult to picture Thanksgiving without the annual Macy’s parade. But the department store chain has long been struggling, and this trend doesn’t appear ready to slow in 2017. Analysts say that Amazon, of course, has hurt this chain. But so have value chains such as T.J. Maxx.

The chain also posted weak holiday sales in 2016, its sales in November and December of last year falling 2.1 percent. It’s little surprise, then, that Macy’s plans to close 100 stores this year.

hhgregg: Online sales haven’t been kind to electronics retailers. hhgregg — which sells electronics and appliances — is a good example. The chain will close 88 stores this year and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier in 2017.

“We’ve given it a valiant effort over the past 12 months,” chief executive officer Robert Riesbeck said in a written statement. “We have conducted an extensive review of alternatives and believe pursuing a restructuring through Chapter 11 is the best path forward.”

Source: MN News

Ryan Companies to build 50,000-square-foot medical center in Minneapolis suburb

Ryan Companies recently announced plans to develop a 50,000-square-foot medical office building in Blaine, Minnesota, a growing suburb of Minneapolis.

The two-story, Class-A medical office building, the Blaine Health Center, will be located at 11161 Ulysses St. NE.

Pre-leasing efforts for the property have begun. Ryan anticipates significant interest from healthcare providers given the demographics and growing population in Blaine.

Premier Commercial Properties, LLC, has been hired to market the building. Premier has fully leased two other medical facilities in the area consisting of 85,000 square feet and 60,000 square feet.

Source: MN News

Minnesota’s Kraus-Anderson Insurance promotes industry veteran

Clay Shelton

Burnsville, Minnesota-based Kraus-Anderson Insurance has promoted Clay Shelton to assistant vice president of risk management. Shelton has served as the agency’s director of risk management since 2007, where he has overseen the development of specialized claims management and loss prevention services.

Shelton is a 25-year insurance veteran, focused on products and solutions for the construction industry. At KA Insurance, he has managed claims, safety and other significant risk management initiatives for large national clients of KA Insurance.

After KA Insurance acquired Minnesota Insurance Brokers in 2009, Shelton managed the development and integration of two key cost containment practices into the agency: Comptrol, a worker’s compensation management division; and Comptrol.Zero, a loss control consulting division.

A member of the agency’s management team, Shelton directs the placement of builder’s risk programs of KA’s joint venture contracts, and leads the Kraus-Anderson Executive Risk Committee, which creates best practice initiatives relating to safety and loss prevention.

Source: MN News

Minneapolis’ Historical Information Gatherers hires director of business development

Rich Townsend

Minneapolis-based Historical Information Gatherers (HIG) has hired Rich Townsend as the company’s director of business development.

Townsend is responsible for sales team leadership and driving revenue, and will also contribute to marketing and business strategy. He will focus on building and strengthening HIG relationships in the West Region of the United States.

Townsend comes to HIG with more than 25 years of business development and marketing experience in the environmental consulting and engineering fields.

Source: MN News