BLOOMINGTON, MN-Given United Properties’ reputation as a commercial real estate broker, some industry observers may be a bit surprised to hear about the company’s selection as the national “Developer of the Year.” The award was announced this week by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the industry’s trade organization.

The last Twin Cities-based developer to win the award was the Opus Group, based in Minnetonka, MN, which won it in 1992. “It feels like winning an Oscar,” says Boyd Stofer, president and chief executive officer of United Properties, the commercial real estate firm based in Bloomington.

United has three distinct businesses–development, investment and corporate services–and has evolved to develop an expertise in such areas as grocery-anchored retail centers, healthcare facilities and senior housing, in addition to suburban office and industrial development, Stofer explains. United’s diversification has enabled it do survive and grown during both up and down market and economic cycles, he adds.”Our heritage is in suburban office development, but we have evolved and diversified in the face of the economy,” Stofer says.

The award is given each year to a developer nationwide that exemplifies leadership and innovation in the commercial real estate market. The selection is overseen by a five-member committee of industry peers applying six evaluation criteria: industry and business leadership, involvement in NAIOP, quality of products and services, financial consistency and stability, ability to adapt to market conditions and social consciousness.

“United Properties’ ability to succeed in this challenging business environment is a great testament and validation of the company’s business strategy, strategic vision and ability to execute,” says Stephen Crosby, NAIOP national chairman and president, CSX Real Property in Florida. Crosby also cites United’s “unwavering focus on its customers” as a factor in its selection.

The award will be presented to Stofer Oct. 20, during NAIOP’s 2004 Annual Conference in San Diego. The 88-year-old company owns or manages a portfolio in excess of 26 million sf and has 400 employees.Past winners of the NAIOP award include Colonial Properties Trust, Lowe Enterprises, Duke Realty Corp. and Stiles Corp.

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