Twin Cities-based THOR Construction Co. has just put forward a plan for a new national headquarters in an economically-challenged portion of Minneapolis, and hopes it will also become a hub for minority entrepreneurship. The company wants to construct a four-story, $30 million multi-tenant office and retail center at the intersection of Plymouth and Penn avenues in the North Minneapolis neighborhood.
Ravi Norman, chief executive officer for THOR Construction, calls the company’s North Minneapolis development plan “directional” at this point, as it still needs to win approval from neighborhood groups, the city and the county. THOR would like to break ground on the 92,000- square-foot project late this year and have it ready for occupancy in the spring of 2018.
“We feel confident that this is the right move for us, as a successful minority-owned company, to put our corporate stakes down in a part of the city that is yearning for private sector investment and commercial real estate development,” said Norman. T
THOR has offices in six states, 150 full- time employees, and more than $150 million in annual gross revenues.
“We’re putting in place a showcase building for the Northside of Minneapolis, with the idea of opening other business people’s eyes and minds to the possibilities of the Northside as a viable place to invest,” said Richard Copeland, Thor’s founder and chairman, who lived in the Plymouth and Penn neighborhood as a child.
The plans call for a sleek, modernistic concrete and glass exterior, a landscaped plaza and tree- lined sidewalks along both sides of the two main streets. The building will offer 16,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and 76,000 square feet of office space. THOR will occupy 11,000 square feet and lease 65,000 square feet to other tenants. The Minneapolis officer of Colliers International has already been retained to market the retail and office space. THOR will serve as the project’s general contractor and focus on recruiting both minority subcontractor and workers.
Copeland says this project is about much more than simply moving the company into the city from its leased facility in suburban Fridley. He hopes the development will prove the viability of private investment in what he calls “one of the city’s most heretofore economically undervalued areas” and spark a true revival of the entire Northside.
Norman says they will bring in other corporations, non-profits, venture capital, and institutional partners to help reinvigorate the neighborhood. “Entrepreneurship is a vital piece of the economic development equation that has shown through numerous studies to improve wealth creation, quality of life measures and community impact.”
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