March 30, 2016

The property will undergo a major renovation including improvements to the exterior; street and skyway-level common areas; and private office spaces

​MINNEAPOLIS – Transwestern’s Minneapolis office today announces a reinvention of historic Baker Center – the four building, 1,061,752-square-foot office and retail property located in the heart of the Minneapolis Central Business District. After more than a year of planning, the property will undergo a major renovation including improvements to the exterior; street and skyway-level common areas; and private office spaces. Construction will begin next month with a projected completion date of
Jan. 1, 2017.

Baker Center is managed and leased by Transwestern, which, in conjunction with RSP Architects and construction management firm Hightower Initiatives, awarded the renovation project to a collaboration between JE Dunn Construction and Gardner Builders.
“The task was to create a progressive office environment that employers could use to attract and retain top talent in today’s competitive workforce,” said Reed Christianson, a principal at Transwestern and member of the Baker Center leasing team. With anticipated availability of nearly 450,000 square feet of office space, these improvements will catapult Baker Center to the forefront of organizational change.

Owned by The Travelers Companies Inc., Baker Center encompasses the city block directly east of the IDS Center and was built in phases between 1926 and 1965. As a center point of downtown Minneapolis, the project has excellent connections to four sides of the city’s vast skyway system.
“The goal of the design was to honor the historic aspects of the buildings while creating unique modern spaces to support today’s mobile worker,” said David Serrano, AIA, a principal with RSP. “The result is a ‘new art deco’ style that takes advantage of the art deco bones of the building while introducing forward-thinking amenities like the concierge desk and rooftop deck.”
Renovation work will focus on the corner of Marquette Avenue and S. 8th St. and will feature a 12-story glass curtain wall component. The design includes a new street-level entrance with a two-story atrium, skyway lobby extension and state-of-the-art media wall. The project also includes replacing the retail storefronts on Marquette and interior upgrades on the first and second floors that add an open seating area and concierge desk.

Skyway level upgrades include new tile flooring, free Wi-Fi, new lighting and lighting features. The new Baker Center amenity floor, located on the top level, will include a full-service fitness center, conference facility and panoramic rooftop deck. Tenant spaces will foster increased productivity by including collaborative layouts with exposed ceilings and state-of-the-art lighting.

"We really wanted to do something that would work for everyone, from ownership to end user,” said Hans Okerstrom, general manager of Baker Center and director of property management for Transwestern. “The result is something we are all very proud of and excited to share with the market.”
“Baker Center is at the center of downtown,” said Chuck Howard, Transwestern’s executive vice president who has served as lead leasing agent at the property for more than 30 years. “We see all this new development happening in Downtown East and the North Loop, but we’re bringing the excitement to the core.”
Transwestern’s Erin Wendorf and Will McDonald also serve on the Baker Center leasing team. 

Transwestern is a privately held real estate firm of collaborative entrepreneurs who deliver a higher level of personalized service — the Transwestern Experience. Specializing in Agency Leasing, Management, Tenant Advisory, Capital Markets, Research and Sustainability services, our fully integrated global enterprise adds value for investors, owners and occupiers of all commercial property types. We leverage market insights and operational expertise from members of the Transwestern family of companies specializing in development, real estate investment management and research. Transwestern has
34 U.S. offices and assists clients through more than 180 offices in 37 countries as part of a strategic alliance with BNP Paribas Real Estate. Experience Extraordinary at and @Transwestern. For updates from the Minneapolis office, follow @TranswesternMN.

With over 250 employees, RSP Architects is headquartered in Minneapolis with offices in Rochester, Minnesota; Phoenix, Arizona; and Fort Worth, Texas. The privately-held firm consistently ranks as one of the largest in the country with annual revenue over $60M.  Majority shareholders include Principals, Associate Principals and Senior Associates.

RSP maintains a diverse practice with architectural expertise in corporate, government, healthcare, higher education, hospitality, manufacturing and distribution, and retail projects throughout the U.S. and internationally. In addition, RSP i_SPACE is a proprietary consultancy service that specializes in facility information, while RSP Dreambox offers experience design and environmental communications.

Hightower Initiatives provides enterprise navigation for clients engaged in aspirational and complex building initiatives.  Hightower Initiatives approach toward business is focused on delivering active, broad spectrum, premium solutions to the challenges facing the building community. Hightower remains committed to initiatives that grow and strengthen a vibrant building industry in throughout Minnesota.

JE Dunn provides collaborative construction services grounded in our pillars of excellence: value, wisdom, sustainability, integrity, collaboration, quality, and safety.  We purposefully seek projects that leverage construction technology and process innovations to contribute to the broader built environment and we cherish the assignments where our construction contributions advance the human experience in our pursuit of building perfection.

Gardner Builders is a hospitality company in the commercial construction business based in Minneapolis, MN, We’re a general contractor focused on delivering projects – both simple and complex – in a way that gives you complete confidence and has you rest assured you are in excellent hands.  We help our clients be the best at who they want to be.   We work closely with our clients, the designers, and our subcontractor partners to deliver quality spaces.  Our end purpose is to provide an outstanding experience during the construction process.


Media Contact:
Amy Wheaton