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EDINA, MN-Verdi Construction Inc., a division of the CorVal Group Co., has started a multimillion renovation and tear-out of a 280,000-sf industrial building here at 7600 Metro Blvd. The building, a former parts distribution warehouse for General Motors Corp., was leased in November by Dow Chemical Co., for use by its FilmTec Corp. division, which hopes to move into the renovated facility by spring.

The company supplies water filtration systems for drinking and industrial applications, by manufacturing reverse-osmosis and nanofiltration membrane elements that remove salt and other impurities. FilmTec already has two other buildings in the area, including a 290,000-sf former Best Buy Co. warehouse that it bought for a reported $9.4 million in 2004 and turned into a manufacturing facility.

The building at 7600 Metro is valued at $8 million, according to NAI Welsh of Minneapolis, which represented the unnamed building owner in the lease. The broker at the time had advertised a lease rate of $2.95 to $3.50 per sf. The building has 20-foot clear heights and 15 dock doors, with one drive-in door.

Jeff Berends, president of Verdi, tells GlobeSt.com that basically his firm is gutting the building, built in 1965, for safer use by the Dow subsidiary. “Because of all the chemicals they’re working with, their safety standards are really high,” he says. “We had to rip out a lot of the electrical in the building, and putting in all new mechanical infrastructure, it’s pretty much a complete gut and redo.” He says recent high construction costs haven’t hurt his firm, because they negotiate on price up front, instead of joining a lot of bids. “We like to get in the door during pre-construction to help customize the solution for the client.”

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