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MINNEAPOLIS-In two weeks, Los-Angeles-based RPD Catalyst LLC plans to close the purchase on the 192,500-sf Renaissance Square office building here. The company is paying $10 million for the property, vacant since Xcel Energy Inc. left the building, and plans to pay another $10 million for renovations and upgrades. The site was purchased from Base Management, which had bought the building in July 2005 for $12 million, sources say.

Scott Dew, president of RPD, says he likes the Downtown Minneapolis market a lot. “This represents an opportunity to pick up a very-well-located, class B property that’s been somewhat neglected,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re going to invest some into it and turn it into a boutique building in a strong market.”

The 10-story building, at 500 Nicollet Mall, was built at the turn of the 20th century. Dew says it will take about three years to bring it up to market standards. “We’ve got a lot of renovation to do, as well as converting the basement into parking, redoing all the lobby and common areas, which are right now fairly institutional,” he says. He says the firm also will seek to attain LEED certification for the building.

Dew says by 2011, the local market should be ready for more office space. “The Downtown market suffered a lot of softness in 2001, when about eight million sf of new space hit the market. That space has been slowly absorbed over the last six to seven years, and now has gotten to about 3% vacant. We feel this building will be easy to lease up.”

The West Coast company already has experience in Minnesota, owning two other office buildings in the state and Birch Run Station, a 260,000-sf power center in Maplewood, MN. The firm also has properties in Des Moines, Michigan and Chicago. “The Midwest, it moves a little slower than the coasts,” Dew says. “I don’t think Minneapolis is going to light up, but it’s not going to be hurt as much in any recession, it has a very stable economy.”

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