Transwestern Announces Redevelopment of Landmark Minneapolis Office and Retail Complex

The historic Baker Center in downtown Minneapolis is headed for a more than $20 million renovation.

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Minneapolis–The historic Baker Center, a more than one million-square-foot office and retail property located in the heart of the Minneapolis central business district, will undergo a major redevelopment.

Baker Center in Minneapolis
Baker Center in Minneapolis

The renovation will include improvements to the exterior, street and skyway-level common areas and private office spaces. Construction is set to begin this month and wrap up by January 2017. The total cost of the project will exceed $20 million, according to the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.

The four-building Baker Center is managed and leased by Transwestern, which, in conjunction with RSP Architects and construction management firm Hightower Initiatives, selected a collaboration between JE Dunn Construction and Gardner Builders to lead the renovation.

“The task was to create a progressive office environment that employers could use to attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive workforce,” Reed Christianson, a principal at Transwestern and member of the Baker Center leasing team, said in prepared remarks.

Built in phases between 1926 and 1965, Baker Center encompasses the city block directly east of the IDS Center. The Travelers Cos. Inc. is the owner of the property, which provides connections to four sides of the city’s vast skyway system.

“The goal of the design was to honor the historic aspects of the buildings while creating unique modern spaces to support today’s mobile worker,” stated David Serrano, AIA, a principal with RSP. “The result is a ‘new art deco’ style that takes advantage of the art deco bones of the building while introducing forward-thinking amenities like the concierge desk and rooftop deck.”

Upgrades will include the corner of Marquette Avenue and S. 8th St. and will feature a 12-story glass curtain wall component. Plans also call for a new street-level entrance with a two-story atrium, skyway lobby extension and media wall. Furthermore, the retail storefronts on Marquette will be replaced, while interior upgrades on the first and second floors will add an open seating area and concierge desk.

Improvements of the skyway level will bring new tile flooring, free Wi-Fi, new lighting and lighting features. The new Baker Center amenity floor, located on the top level, will feature a fitness center, conference facility and panoramic rooftop deck. Tenant spaces will foster increased productivity by including collaborative layouts.

“We really wanted to do something that would work for everyone, from ownership to end user,” explained Hans Okerstrom, general manager of Baker Center and director of property management for Transwestern. “The result is something we are all very proud of and excited to share with the market.”

“Baker Center is at the center of downtown,” added Chuck Howard, Transwestern’s executive vice president who has served as lead leasing agent at the property for more than 30 years. “We see all this new development happening in Downtown East and the North Loop, but we’re bringing the excitement to the core.”

Transwestern’s Erin Wendorf and Will McDonald also serve on the Baker Center leasing team.

Image courtesy of Transwestern

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