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EDINA, MN-Opus Northwest has been selected by the city council to build a 150,000-sf medical office building on the site of the community’s current public works building, in return providing land to the community to construct a new maintenance facility. Opus beat the Ryan Cos. in a bid to build on the PW property at 5416 Eden Ave.

Opus said in plans to the city that it will buy the site for about $4.1 million and will build a $30-million office facility, according to assistant city manager Heather Worthington. The community is considering a $4.6-million TIF for the project. The company already has an agreement by Edina Family Physicians to lease about 30,000 sf in the new building, she tells GlobeSt.com.

Demand for off-campus medical space, and subsequent construction efforts, has been high, according to a mid-year report by United Properties, with 202,000 sf of off-campus space delivered during the first half of 2007 in the Minneapolis area, more on the way for the second half of the year, and physicians starting to look to alternative suburbs for lower rents.

In return for giving up public space, the city wants a bigger maintenance facility than the current 70,000-sf building at Highway 100 and Vernon Avenue. “We’re looking for a new public works building to be about 100,000 sf,” Worthington says. “The problem with Ryan’s bid is that they were offering a building that was less sf than that.” Opus has proposed to sell the former microwave popcorn plant, owned by ConAgra Foods Inc., to the city for the new public works facility. “We needed to move into an existing building that could be renovated,” Worthington says.

Now, the city will work out plans with Opus, Worthington says. Opus can begin demolition, and construction on the office, once the PWD moves out by the end of next year, she says.

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