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Opus Northwest selling properties, company now narrowed to two divisions

By Burl Gilyard
Dolan Media Newswires

Minneapolis — Minnetonka-based Opus Northwest has hired CB Richard Ellis to list Ladd Tower, a Portland apartment building, for sale.

John Solberg, president and CEO of Opus Northwest, confirmed the property has been listed for sale.

“This is a very unique asset in a market that’s perceived as being a strong market on the West Coast,” Solberg said. He would not comment on the price the firm is expecting to ask for Ladd Tower.

The 23-story, 332-unit building is about 80 percent leased, Solberg said. Opus completed the project in May 2009.

Opus Northwest, once a powerhouse player in local commercial real estate, is in the process of unwinding its business. Opus Northwest is up for sale and is no longer part of the restructured Opus organization.

A few months ago, signs pointed to Opus selling its Opus Northwest portfolio in bulk. It’s not clear if the move to sell a single asset signals a change in the company’s strategy.

“Lenders have approved us taking this action,” Solberg said of the Ladd sale listing.

Asked if Opus Northwest will try to sell its remaining portfolio in bulk or sell off individual properties one by one, Solberg did not have a definitive answer.

“I still think there could be a possibility of a portfolio sale,” he said.

Opus Northwest owns 17 properties, not counting land holdings, across the country.

The Opus organization has been transformed during the past 18 months as the ongoing economic shakeout in the commercial real estate industry took root. During 2009, three of the group’s five regional operating subsidiaries — Opus East, Opus South and Opus West — filed for bankruptcy. The company sold off its property management division last year to Bloomington-based NorthMarq.

Today, the restructured Opus consists of two divisions: Opus North and Opus Design Build, a newly created entity. In May, Opus Design Build bought the bulk of Opus Northwest’s third-party, design-build construction projects.

Former Opus Northwest executives such as Tom Shaver and Dave Menke are now with Opus North.

Development veteran Tim Murnane left Opus Northwest in June 2009, but returned to the fold in recent weeks to serve as president of Opus Holding Inc. and Opus Holding LLC, the holding companies for Opus North Corp. and Opus Design Build, respectively.

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