This month, Elion Partners’ Managing Partner and Co-Founder Juan DeAngulo addressed a group of real estate students at Harvard University. The presentation featured a case study, during which DeAngulo outlined Elion’s investment and redevelopment strategy. Specifically, he recounted the firm’s process in purchasing, redeveloping, and urbanizing a corporate suburban campus, now known as CityPlace in Woodbury, MN.
As many of our investors know, Elion’s strategy includes not only pursuing strategic investment opportunities, but also making a positive social impact on the world. In this particular case: State Farm Insurance Company initially had purchased the site for its corporate office. However, when the company decided to relocate back to Lincoln, NE, they had difficulties finding a buyer and the land sat vacant for years. The local community and city officials sought to restore the loss of jobs and restore the empty lot.
Enter: an opportunity for Elion and the City of Woodbury to make the community a better place for its residents.
The other benefits of this opportunity included: a high-quality location and the tremendous value creation potential on the site. The firm had the opportunity to capitalize on the existing relationship of one of its principals with State Farm. This created an atmosphere of trust in the negotiation of the purchase agreement, giving Elion the necessary time to work with the City through the entitlement process and collaboratively transform it into what it’s become today.
However, the project did not come without challenges. Elion navigated various social nuances, which led to a great reward for the community. For example: due to the tight knit real estate community in the area and the City of Woodbury’s carefully planned long-range growth strategy, Elion set out to work in collaboration with the City and a best-in-class developer with a local presence.
The strategic redevelopment plan sought to bring back lost jobs through a mixed-use concept incorporating office, medical office, multifamily, and retail, creating a true live-work-play concept. During the predevelopment and development process, Elion Partners worked closely with architects, consultants, environmental and civil engineers, and local city government to construct the 100-acre plot into a successful mixed-use redevelopment site.
Today, CityPlace brings diverse opportunities for recreation, shopping and cultural activities while balancing work with amenities and supportive functions. The master-planned development includes pedestrian-friendly scenic trails, Class A office space, shopping, dining, medical facilities, and two on-site hotels. CityPlace caters to employers who value easy accessibility, walkability and a balance of work-life integration.
This project embodies our core values: making positive change while providing value for our LPs.