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EAGAN, MN-The largest real estate transaction in the Twin Cities in the last three years recently closed. Ecolab Inc. closed on its $17.5-million purchase of the Waters, a 90-acre, 481,000-sf corporate campus located at Dodd Road and Highway 55.

The corporate real estate services department of United Properties, the Bloomington, MN-based commercial real estate firm, represented Ecolab in the deal. Ecolab is renovating the campus and plans to consolidate its research and development center and about 400 employees at new location in early 2005.

The St. Paul-based cleaning materials company will sell two buildings in the consolidation, including its existing 141,000-sf research center at 820 Sibley Memorial Hwy. in Mendota Heights, MN, and a 28,500 sf at 88 Empire Dr. in St. Paul. The company’s headquarters, Ecolab Center, will remain in the three buildings it occupies on Wabasha Street in Downtown St. Paul.

Cray Research originally built the Waters Campus in 1989 for about $100 million. The campus became an asset of SGI when it purchased Cray Research in 1996.

SGI sold the campus to technology company Wam!Net in 1999 for $38 million. The company subsequently sold the campus to J.P. Morgan and signed a 20-year lease. In the summer of 2003, Wam!Net sold its business to Virginia-based Savvis Communications and vacated the campus late last year.

“We’re confident the company has made an excellent investment, one that will contribute greatly to its long-term growth and expansion,” says Nancy Miller, a senior consultant with United Properties’ corporate real estate services.

Ecolab, with sales last year of $3.8 billion, is a developer and marketer of premium cleaning, sanitizing, pest elimination, maintenance and repair products and services for the hospitality, foodservice, institutional and industrial markets.

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