The 57-story IDS Center, Minnesota’s tallest office tower and Minneapolis’ signature skyscraper, has been acquired by Beacon Investment Properties, LLC of Hallandale Beach, FL in a joint venture with Tel Aviv-based Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd. and Menora Mivtahim Insurance Ltd. from Inland American Real Estate Trust, Inc. Oak Brook, IL for $253 million.
The 1.4 million-square foot glass and steel postmodern architectural landmark, with its 25,000 square foot indoor park and fountain, has a 93% leased office tower and the two-level retail plaza called Crystal Court which is 100% leased.
Located at 80 S. 8th St., and occupying a full square block of the Nicollet Mall in what is considered the epicenter of downtown Minneapolis, the IDS Center was designed in 1972 by architect Philip Johnson, known for creating iconic corporate headquarters including the Seagram’s Building in New York City and the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Center in Pittsburgh.
Ariel Bentata, chief investment officer and founding partner of Beacon Investment Properties, said, “Our company is delighted and proud to own the premier office complex in one of America’s most progressive and dynamic markets, the Twin Cities. It is a stable asset with long term tenants and a history of strong financial performance. We are honored to assume the stewardship of IDS Center from Inland American which took very good care of this commercial real estate icon during its seven year ownership. We will carry on that tradition.”
He said Beacon looks for “value creation opportunities” and will add a conference center, an extensively-equipped fitness center plus enhancements to the Crystal Court in the coming months.
Claudio Dombey, a founding partner and chief of investor relations, cited the “solid support of our partners Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services, Ltd. and Menora Mivtachim Insurance Ltd. In Tel Aviv that enabled us to expedite this sizeable and complex transaction. We are very fortunate to have such an excellent partnership.
“In fact, all our institutional investors in the U.S., Europe, South America and Israel encourage us to identify and acquire cash-flowing Class A properties in Class A-plus locations in major U.S. growth markets,” explained Dombey. “This allows us to be extremely selective in building our portfolio by capitalizing on opportunities most 10-year-old real estate investment companies cannot touch.”
Gadi Ben-Haim, Head of Real Estate Investments at Harel, said “This is the third transaction we have carried out with Beacon Investment Properties in line with Harel’s strategy of partnering with experienced leading local companies to generate high value for Harel members.”
Lior Mor, Head of Real Estate Investments at Menora Mivtachim Insurance, added, “Our group is proud to joint venture with Beacon Investment Properties and Harel. The acquisition of a prime office building in the Minneapolis market reflects Menora’s general strategy of buying high quality assets across the U.S. while seeking to provide stable returns to our pensioners.”
Inland American Real Estate Trust, Inc., which has owned IDS Center since 2006, said it is selling the office complex to focus its investment portfolio on the lodging, retail and student housing segments.
“The IDS Center performed well in our portfolio,” said Jeff Manno, vice president of transactions, Inland American Business Manager and Advisor, Inc. “The decision to sell this fine asset is consistent with the execution of our long term strategy.”
The seller was represented by senior managing directors Jamie Fink and Jeff Bramson and director Mark Katz of the Chicago office of HFF, a national real estate capital intermediary. “IDS Center is more than a landmark. It is the centerpiece of downtown Minneapolis,” Fink said. Its desirability is proven by the fact that more than 30 tenants have occupied the building for over 20 years.
“There was very strong interest in the property from international and national investors. IDS Center offers an investor the rare occasion to acquire an office tower that has a perfect location, efficient floor plates, superior amenities, renowned architecture and unobstructed views in a major metropolitan city,” Fink added. “Beacon was selected to bid because of its excellent reputation for closing large real estate acquisitions. They are very efficient and performed as promised.”
Susan Hill, senior managing director and associate director Kelly Layne in HFF’s Houston office and managing director Timothy Joyce in HFF’s Chicago office, arranged the financing, securing a 10-year $182 million financing through JP Morgan Chase Bank. NA.
Originally built as the corporate headquarters for American Express-owned Investors Diversified Services, now independent and known as Ameriprise, the 57-story tower gained national recognition in the 1970s when it was featured weekly on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The actress-comedienne played Mary Richards, a 30-year-old bachelorette and associate producer on the nightly six-o-clock news for mythical WJM-TV that had its studio “located” in the skyscraper. The sitcom’s opening sequence, showing a gleeful Mary throwing her beret in the air, is memorialized on Nicollet Mall with a bronze statue of the star doing her celebrated hat toss.
Today, IDS Center is the prime downtown Minneapolis attraction for businesspeople, shoppers, restaurant goers, visitors and locals just looking for some park-like serenity. Minneapolis-headquartered professional services companies occupy approximately 50% of the office tower. They include the law firms of Lindquist & Vennum; Merchant & Gould; Briggs and Morgan; the Minneapolis office of New York City-based law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski; the law firm of Gray, Plant, Mooty, Moot & Bennett and Hays Companies, risk management consultants and insurance brokers.
Other regional and nationally known companies include Nuveen Investments; Okabena Company, Okabena Investment Services, Mattel, Kraft Foods Group, Nickelodeon-MTV, Norwest Equity Partners, Sit Investment Associates, Wells Fargo Advisors, Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America.
Jim Durda, vice president of IDS Center who has been its general manager for the last 10 of his 19 years at the property, contends the building is particularly popular with professional service firms because of Philip Johnson’s innovative architectural style. “Mr. Johnson utilized a design technique he called ‘zogs’’ that essentially created 32 private corner offices on every floor,” Durda said. “Couple that with the tower’s panoramic views, location and image and it’s easy to see why we have one of the highest commercial tenant retention ratios in Minneapolis.”
Four glass-enclosed pedestrian skyways link the complex to surrounding buildings and retailers including Macy’s and Off Saks department stores. Within the Center, the ground floor and the skyway level is devoted to a variety of shops, restaurants and services including Banana Republic. GAP, GAP Kids, Hubert W. White, a fine menswear shop, hair stylist Rocco Altobelli, Mission American Kitchen and Bar, People’s Organic Café, Cosi’s, plus Starbucks and a full-service FedEx/Kinko store.
While the Center has 655 indoor parking spaces, business travelers meeting with firms in the office tower do not have to rent a car or hail a cab. On the corner of 7th and Marquette and part of Nicollet Mall is the 19-story, 280-room, four-diamond rated- Marquette Hotel managed by Hilton Hotels Corp. Its main restaurant, Basil’s, is a favorite gathering spot for visitors and people working in the offices. And although it is physically located in the mall and a one minute walk to the tower elevators, the hotel is separately owned and was not acquired by Beacon Investment Properties.
However, Beacon did acquire the 25,000 square-foot indoor park and fountain known as Crystal Court in the center of the complex. The eight- story high enclosed atrium has 18 olive trees housed in planters surrounded by 72 benches and anchored by a digital clock tower that displays time, temperature, traffic information and sports scores.
“Imagine, this soothing fountain with trees that are green year around and plenty of seating where you can relax, meet a friend, read a book, have a sandwich or just think,” said Durda. “It’s this calming oasis right in the middle of a busy city.”
Beacon Investment Properties’ purchase of IDS Center is its largest acquisition to date, its first property in the northern U.S. and its third acquisition in 2013. In the last six months, Beacon has acquired 3.1 million square feet of top-tier commercial real estate, primarily in Texas, Florida and the southeast.