Operation Fort: Phalen+Westminster Crossing
The Phalen+Westminster Crossing is a 68,000 square foot industrial condo development along the Phalen Corridor in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  After having success in this emerging market with its BridgePoint Business Center project, Langer Development envisioned a similar need for smaller industrial condo opportunities as part of the Port Authority’s redevelopment efforts. The larger building was designed to be sectioned into multiple units providing ownership opportunities for businesses as small as 4,300 square feet.  The plan was to erect the exterior shell of the building while leaving the interior completely unfinished.  This would allow for flexible unit sizes that provided 100% customizable build-to-suit condo units.
Both positive and negative features were attached to this particular project. The build-to-suit opportunity was a definite benefit. However, purchasing a commercial space is a significant commitment which can cause debilitating hesitation without a final product for buyers to experience. At the time of development the industrial condo market was still a fairly new concept to the region. Given this, the unproven resale market would be an added concern for prospective buyers.
The Port Authority added a significant benefit. They passed the land to Langer Development at no cost. This savings was then passed on to each industrial condo buyer creating immediate equity that provided creative financing options. There was a caveat. The Port Authority imposed job requirements on new businesses entering the development. Each business was required to bring a certain number of jobs to the city of St. Paul, and they were committed to hiring additional employees in future years. If these commitments were not met the business would be charged a penalty. 
Creating a marketing and sales plan that emphasized the positive attributes of the development, minimized the concerns, and captured the projects vision for buyers was sure to be a challenge.
While utilizing a well formulized communication strategy, buyer’s concerns over job requirements were more than offset by the positive “no money down” financing opportunities created through the Port Authority’s land equity pass through.  Increased value was added through creative architectural plans customized to fit each buyer’s specific business needs, which allowed prospects to more closely experience their vision.  Through aggressive marketing and sales efforts the development was a success with the building being split into 10 industrial condo units for buyers ranging from 4,100 square feet to over 17,000 square feet.  As an integral part of the revitalization of Saint Paul’s East Side the Phalen+Westminster Crossing development was awarded “Best in Real Estate” Finalist by the Minnesota Business Journal.
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