Blessed. That’s how Mark Kolsrud, senior vice president with Colliers International, describes being part of the largest commercial real estate transaction in Minnesota history.
That transaction, of course, is CSM Corporation’s sale of 7 million square feet of industrial real estate in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Denver. A total of 5.7 million square feet of this 59-property portfolio is located in the Twin Cities, making this transaction the largest sale in state history by square footage.
“I’m crazy blessed to be part of this,” Kolsrud said. “I have been in the business a long time. Every client and every transaction is important. But to be a part of a transaction like this? There are no words. It’s pretty special.”
CSM announced this historic sale yesterday. And though CSM didn’t name a buyer, The Business Journal has confirmed that New York-based The Blackstone Group purchased the portoflio. The final sales price of the deal was not released.
Kolsrud said that the big deal is just the latest example of how strong the industrial market is in the Twin Cities. That strength explains why this deal was closed even as Minnesota and the rest of the country adjusts to the economic turmoil brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Industrial is really a healthy product type across the country, and especially so here in Minnesota,” Kolsrud said. “It’s not surprising that this portfolio looks so good to a buyer. The industrial properties in it were of such high quality. The buyer is a strong one, too. The buyer said what it was going to do and did what it said it would do.”
Gary Holmes, president and chief executive officer of CSM, said selling the portfolio was not an easy decision.
“The decision to sell these properties was a difficult one for me,” Holmes said in a statement. “It took time for me to reconcile with the fact that I was parting ways with a portion of my life’s work. Many talented people had a hand in developing and managing these properties and I am profoundly grateful for their efforts.”
After the sale, CSM still holds hotel, residential and commercial properties. In a press release, CSM said that it plans to continue to grow its business in the Twin Cities and other markets.
Holmes and his company have long been major players in the Minneapolis/St. Paul CRE market. Holmes was the recipient of the 2019 Minnesota Real Estate Journal Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kolsrud said that the deal shows that business can still get done even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are very fortunate in Minnesota,” Kolsrud said. “We have the kind of work ethic and businesses that can get you through tough times. I can’t think of any other town that has the ability to pull through changing economic times like we do. I’m very confident that if anywhere has a chance to come out of this strong, it is us.”