The RBC Plaza

MINNEAPOLIS—KBS Real Estate Investment Trust III has just signed an 18,505-square-foot, full-floor lease with global legal practice Norton Rose Fulbright at its RBC Plaza, a 40-story office tower in the heart of Minneapolis’ financial district. The firm will move from the IDS Center and take over its new space this November.

“The side core design of the building and height at the 31st floor led to a very efficient plan for the tenant,” KBS Capital Advisors senior vice president/asset manager Gio Cordoves, tells Furthermore, the firm’s new space has “amazing views as RBC has one of the best window lines in all of the CBD.”

Sonja Dusil of Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq represented KBS REIT III in the transaction, while Landon Helm of Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq and Jim Bailey of Cushman & Wakefield represented Norton Rose Fulbright.

KBS acquired the 678,045-square-foot building last year for $118.1 million from Brookfield Office Properties. Managed by Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq, it was one of the six of the city’s major office towers that traded hands in the past year, with a total of more than 3.4-million-square-feet, a pace not seen since before the recession. Cordoves says the building’s office space, which includes floors 7-40, excluding the current and former retail space, is about 96.5% leased today including the Fulbright lease.

And even though the downtown has become quite attractive to investors and tenants, KBS believes it can still improve this property.

“We are finding that more and more tenants are leaning toward open concepts, both from an efficiency standpoint as well as the collaborative environment that such a design often produces,” Cordoves says. “The design of RBC Plaza lends well to this but can also accommodate a more traditional perimeter office layout like was the case with Fulbright.”

KBS has already begun an extensive renovation and repositioning of the building, including upgrades on the first two floors, as well as the addition of a new conferencing center, full fitness facility with showers and lockers, plus secured bicycle storage. The company plans to complete the improvements by fall 2014.