Sept 29 Opportunity: Shaping the West Market District (west side area of Downtown Minneapolis)

An opportunity has been made available for NAIOP members to participate in an exchange of ideas to shape a modern, livable neighborhood in the “West Market” (west side) area of downtown Minneapolis.

The City of Minneapolis will present draft goals for an upcoming RFP to developers for surplus land near Van White Memorial Blvd and 2nd Ave North.

The West Market business association will highlight other parcels currently being developed, listed or have long range potential. A discussion will also involve David Frank (City of Minneapolis, Planning & Economic Development), Nick Koch (HGA Architects), David Wellington (Wellington Management) and David Loehr (20/20 Partners).

Thursday September 29, 5:00 – 7:00 pm.
Location: Heritage Park Community Center, 1015 4th Ave North, Minneapolis 55405

RSVP to: Please RSVP.

West Market District web site

September 20, 2016 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

October 11 Breakfast – Insights on the Vikings’ Headquarters & Eagan Development


The October 11 breakfast program (8:00 am, Golden Valley Golf & Country Club) offers insights on an active multi-phased, mixed-use Eagan development involving 200 acres and to be staged over the next 10-15 years.

The development, of course, is the Minnesota Vikings’ new team headquarters and training facility on part of the former Delta Airlines Headquarters property. This project includes a proposed mix of office, retail, multi-family residential, and hospitality uses and will be developed by an affiliate of the Vikings’ owners.

Additionally, Eagan leaders will provide their perspective on the area’s transformation, on the city’s targets for related development and redevelopment opportunities, and on the City’s new partnership with the Vikings.

Details and registration available at

September 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

MPCA Waste Proposal Could Cost Dearly

If your company plans to engage in new construction, reclamation or renovation, and you expect to deal with solid waste or contaminated soils, you need to express your thoughts this week to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regarding its proposal to substantially increase waste disposal taxes.

If their recommendation is adopted, it could have a chilling effect on the metropolitan region’s new development, building renovation or other construction sector activities that, in turn, could lead to yet more significant economic and social problems. Considering the current regulatory barriers to urban infill projects, for example, significant tax increases such as these could effectively stagnate redevelopment of already run-down regions in our metro area.

To voice your opinion about the proposed tax increase on solid waste, please send your email comments NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 5 P.M. to:

Issue Background
The MPCA’s current proposal, among other issues, deals with construction and demolition materials as well as industrial waste such as contaminated soils. Taxes on mixed municipal solid waste (MMSW) are much higher than for industrial solid waste (ISW). The MPCA reports a significant increase in ISW disposal since 2009 while MMSW has remained constant, leading the agency to believe that much of the increase in ISW contains MMSW that could be removed from the landfilling stream and recycled or otherwise reprocessed.

To deal with the issue, the MPCA proposes to elevate taxes on ISW to equal that of MMSW – from the current $0.60-per-cubic-yard cost to 17-percent of the overall hauler bill. This hypothetical project illustrates the significant impact this tax increase could impose:

Solid Waste removal taxes:
• A 25,000-square-foot office remodeling job may generate 300 cubic yards of waste at a cost of approximately $3,500 for disposal. Under the current tax rate of $0.60 per cubic yard, a $180 fee would need to be paid to the MPCA. But under the MPCA’s proposal, a 17-percent tax would be applied to the overall cost for disposal – a $600 fee would now need to be paid. This represents more than a 200-percent increase in solid waste disposal taxes.

Contaminated soil removal taxes:
• A medium-sized project might generate 25,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils, which could cost approximately $1,120,000 to remove. Under the current tax of $0.60 per cubic yard, a developer would have to pay $15,000 in fees. Under the proposed tax of 17 percent of the total cost, the developer would now have to pay $190,400 – an increase of more than 1,000 percent.

What We’re Doing
The NAIOP Minnesota Public Policy Committee is tackling this issue head-on by providing comments directly to the MPCA, asking them not to adopt their proposed tax increases, and volunteering to help improve recycling of construction waste as well as the redevelopment of sites with environmental contamination. But your voice in this issue can make a difference too. I urge you to get involved and let the MPCA commissioners know how you feel about such an unwarranted move.

What You Can Do
You must email your comments NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 5 P.M. Please send your thoughts to:

For more background, here is a link to the MPCA report and proposal.

When you send your note, you may want to consider these points:

  • Developers in Minnesota are in the business of improving quality of life by improving our living environment.
    • Every project not only improves lives but also increases state and local tax bases
  • MPCA’s proposal would curb new developments, building renovations and urban infill projects.
    • Quality of life will begin to decline.
  • Construction jobs would be lost and cities would not enjoy a more robust redevelopment effort.
    • Blighted areas will simply remain blighted longer.
  • MPCA should consider methods to more accurately monitor and appropriately channel solid waste streams, not simply raise taxes.
    • Technology exists to accomplish this, and developers and waste haulers are willing to work with the MPCA to accomplish the mutual goal to recycle more.

If you send comments to the MPCA, please let me know by dropping me a quick note at As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions on this issue or on how to submit comments.

Thank you.

-Quinn Cheney, Director of Public Policy

September 13, 2016 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

MN Supreme Court agrees that a Tax is a Tax

We should all cheer when it comes to improving transparency in government, particularly when it comes to helping taxpayers understand their tax burdens. The Minnesota Supreme Court agrees, recently calling out the City of St. Paul on “fees” that should actually be defined as taxes.

This is good news, right? Well…taxpayers may foot the bill for the right result.

Two significant downtown St. Paul churches – The First Baptist Church of St. Paul and the Catholic Church of St. Mary – took the city to court over so-called “right-of-way assessments” that pay ordinary civic services such as street maintenance and lighting, arguing that the assessments were actually taxes. As tax-exempt organizations, neither church pays property taxes to local governments, although they are responsible for assessment for improvements that directly benefit their properties.

Minnesota Public Radio (ironically – a party to the case) recently reported on the MN Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of these plaintiffs click here for the MPR story. This isn’t small potatoes – as Tim Nelson reports, “The right-of-way assessment now amounts to nearly $30 million a year, compared to a total property tax bill across the city of about $100 million, according to city finance director Todd Hurley.”

So, how do you suppose the city will make up for a possible $30 million shortfall in order to keep the streets free of snow and potholes filled, not to mention lighting the sidewalks at night? Well, MPR gave us the honest answer, for the story continues: “If the Minnesota Supreme Court decision dismantles the city’s street assessment system, tens of millions of dollars could be shifted back onto regular property tax payers and high-value properties, such as downtown office towers.”

This will not happen overnight, thankfully. The Supreme Court moved the case back to Ramsey County District Court, where the City will have another shot at proving the unique value of the street assessment to the affected properties. In the meantime, the City will continue to collect the fees.

We at NAIOP Minnesota will stay tuned to this issue. We applaud any court decision that makes taxes more transparent. However, with municipalities across the state watching this issue very closely, we must be careful avoid further increases our already too-high property taxes to fund basic governmental services.


– Quinn Cheney, Director of Public Policy

August 26, 2016 at 8:41 am

2016 Awards of Excellence Project Entries

Check out the entries for the 2016 Awards of Excellence project awards!

On September 22, be part of the best of Minnesota’s commercial real estate industry and see which projects take home awards.

Event and registration details are available at

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August 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm

October 11 Closer Look lunch with Tom Holtz, available to NAIOP members

In an opportunity available exclusively to the first 30 NAIOP members who register, on Tuesday, October 11 there is a Closer Look lunch discussion with Tom Holtz. Tom, who joined CBRE in 1979 and now serves as an Executive Vice President, is an integral and long-time leader in major investment transactions for single-tenant and multi-tenant office and industrial properties.

Details and registration (available exclusively to NAIOP members) at

August 22 Update: There are just 9 spots remaining for this lunch.

August 22, 2016 at 11:24 am

2016 Golf Classic: Foursome Photos

NAIOP Minnesota members and sponsors beat the heat at the 26th Annual Golf Classic at the Wilds Golf Club in Prior Lake. Check out photos of our resilient golfers, courtesy of RSP Architects.

July 28, 2016 at 9:52 am

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