Four Minneapolis developers walk into a room at St. Thomas School of Law … and mostly agree about the current state of multi-family residential real estate. The market, they all say, is hot, with projects being announced with a regularity not seen since before the Great Recession. But those projects are mostly apartment buildings — not condominiums.
The reasons, said the four men invited to speak on the topic last week by Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman as part of her monthly “Lunch with Lisa” program, are complex: Getting financing for condo projects is harder than it is for apartments. Both millennials and older baby boomers are showing a preference for the greater flexibility of renting.
But there’s another reason, too, one that’s become a perennial complaint among developers and builders: the 10-year liability exposure for construction defects. “I’m 48,” said Curt Gunsbury, a principal in Solhem, a company that has built apartments in Uptown, around the University of Minnesota and in the North Loop.”When I’m 63, people are still going to be suing me” if he built condos.
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