After $20M+ Deal, Investor Group Renovating
Rochester Apartments

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
October 26, 2007
By: Sam Black

The largest apartment complex in Rochester recently traded hands, and the new owners have begun a major renovation project. The 412-unit complex is in the northwest part of Rochester near IBM Corp.'s large manufacturing plant.

The complex was called Rochester Village but has been renamed by the new ownership group, said one of the owners, Jim Soderberg, of Brooklyn Center-based Soderberg Apartment Specialists. The new name is The Gates of Rochester.

The deal, which closed Sept. 22, was worth more than $20 million. The seller of the property is Stewart Stender, partner and co-founder of Bloomington-based Stewart Lawrence Group. Stender owned the property as a personal investment.

The properties, built in 1984, are in a series of small one-and two-story townhome-style buildings at 2015 41st St. N.W About 135, or one-third, of the units were renovated in the past few years. Keith Collins of CB Richard Ellis' Bloomington office marketed the properties, which drew a dozen offers. The successful buyer was a group led by Soderberg that includes one of his former employees, Wade Shatzer, who now owns Equimax Real Estate, based in Wayzata.

The men have a lot of experience running and turning around apartment buildings. Combined. they own more than 2,100 apartments, many of which they bought in poor condition and then renovated, in the Twin Cities area.

In addition to upgrading a majority of the interiors of The Gates of Rochester, Soderberg said, the $2 million renovation will replace one of the two swimming pools with a mini-golf course, add a motorized security gate, expand the fitness center with some high-end equipment and build a sand volleyball court.

Soderberg said he expects that the renovation will enhance the surrounding neighborhood and attract professionals who work at IBM and the Mayo Clinic. It also could help to turnaround an area of Rochester that has been undesirable.

"For us, we don't think we're successful if we just change the building around," Soderberg said. "It's actually about changing that whole neighborhood around."

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