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Launch proposes 16-acre Opus II redevelopment.

Byline: Matt M. Johnson

Minneapolis-based Launch Properties is poised to undertake a Minnetonka redevelopment project so large that the city is holding meetings to discuss it before an actual proposal is submitted.

Launch is planning to build a mix of commercial space that could include a hotel, housing and office space on about 16.25 acres of property in the Opus II business park. The developer is negotiating or has completed purchase agreements for the property at 5959 Shady Oak Road, 10900 Red Circle Drive, and 10701 Bren Road E., according to the city. However, Launch has not submitted a concept plan or formal development application.

The city started a series of three meetings about the potential redevelopment in January to "to bring everybody up to speed" on all the redevelopment happening inside the 640-acre business park, said Julie Wischnack, the city's community development director. Hundreds of new apartments are under construction or development at Opus II, including a $130 million, 482-unit complex Plymouth-based Dominium is building at 11001 Bren Road E., directly north of Launch's proposed redevelopment site.

Opus II is the busiest area for new development projects in Minnetonka, according to the city's website. The future Southwest Light Rail Transit line will run through the business park and will have its Opus Station next to Dominium's site. Opus II is also at a major crossroads for Twin Cities vehicle traffic, sitting in the northwest quadrant of highways 62 and 169.

The city has brought several consultants and an expert panel to speak at meetings concerning Launch's project in January and on March 21.

"We're trying to get everybody thinking about what is happening where," Wischnack said in a Wednesday interview.

The last meeting in the series will take place on April 18.

Launch did not respond on Wednesday to a request to comment on its potential project. City staff members have met with Launch representatives about the project, but have been given no specifics about what might be built on the property.

The bulk of Launch's development portfolio is made up of industrial and retail projects, its website shows. The company is also developing nonresidential portions of the 6.5-acre L&H Station at the southwest corner of Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis.

The city learned about the project several months ago when representatives of the International Spanish Language Academy notified planning staff that the school intended to sell its 30,400-square-foot building at 5959 Shady Oak Road. Launch has signed a $10 million purchase agreement with Communications Systems Inc., which has its headquarters next door to the school in a 104,000-square-foot building at 10900 Red Circle Drive.

CSI purchased the property in 2007 for $5.6 million, according to Hennepin County property records. The company has yet to decide where it will move, said CSI Chief Financial Officer Mark Fandrich.

"This building is not very well configured for our needs," he said in an interview.

TJT LLC, the owner of a 44,845-square-foot multitenant office building at 10701 Bren Road is currently negotiating a purchase agreement with Launch, said the company's managing member Troy Thelen. He declined to discuss specifics of the deal.

Opus II has been a hub of development activity for decades. Insurance giant UnitedHealth Group has three office buildings in the park. Other major buildings include the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest hotel at 5801 Opus Parkway and the headquarters for Opus II developer The Opus Group at 10350 Bren Road W.

About 14,800 people work for 140 businesses in the park, according to the city. Opus II has a total of 4.2 million square feet of retail, commercial and industrial space.

In addition, more than 2,000 people live in 534 condominiums, 409 townhomes and 1,543 apartments in Opus II. The city's 2040 comprehensive plan calls for adding 1,378 housing units and 4,183 jobs in Opus II by 2040.

Related:

432 apartments for L&H Station's next phase

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Publication:Finance and Commerce
Date:Mar 27, 2019
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