MINNEAPOLIS-In a convenient matchup, HGA Architects andEngineers has leased 80,000 square feet in a historic building, aformer Ford manufacturing facility, where the company is acting asproject architect for a $40-million renovation project. OwnerUnited Properties is leading the project, located across from thenew Target Field.

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The property was built in 1912 as a vertical assembly plant andcar showroom for Ford Motor Co. United Properties bought thebuilding, operating as a Class C flex property in the city’swarehouse district in 2007 for $12.5 million, and launched itsredevelopment of the building. The company first had to gainhistoric renovation design approval from the National Park Service,Minneapolis Historic Preservation Commission and the City ofMinneapolis Planning Commission.

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The new Ford Center will have 270,000 square feet of office,including a bottom floor parking area and a fitness center. JohnSaunders with United, leading the project with Bill Katter, tellsGlobeSt.com that the perk of the property is its location next toan expanded light and commuter rail station. “There will be threeother light rail lines at this location over the next severalyears,” Saunders says.

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HGA, which had been working on the project with United, istaking the first floor floors. The property’s floor plates supportcollaborative teamwork, said Stephen Fiskum, COO with HGA. “And itsproximity to light rail and public transit reinforces our firm’scommitment to urbanism and sustainability,” he said.

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Saunders said HGA had been looking at other options, but in thepast five months started negotiating for the new lease. “We have alot of tenant interest, with several very promising discussionswith a number of parties. The local office market is relativelyslow, but the uniqueness of this project has created a strongdemand for our building,” he says.

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