United Properties and JLL add five stars to the Minneapolis skyline
RBC Gateway brings glitzy new office space, the Four Seasons brand and new energy to the Twin Cities
Construction management mixed-use development
1.2 million square feet
Development management and project management
United Properties’ deep roots in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area can be traced back more than 100 years. But this family-owned developer, known for building and strengthening communities, entered its second century with a bold new vision: United Properties would transform the former site of the historic and grand Nicollet Hotel — past host to presidential luminaries and celebrities — into a new 36-story, Class A mixed-use skyscraper.
The plan featured an office tower, residential condominiums, and the city’s first-ever five-star hotel. The City of Minneapolis had not seen a development of this size in over 20 years—RBC Gateway is one of the 10 tallest buildings in Minneapolis and one of a few office skyscrapers to be built in the Twin Cities this century.
Given the scale and complexity of the project, United Properties wanted a partner with experience developing a five-star facility to help ensure its success. The developer enlisted JLL’s Project and Development Services (PDS) team to provide development management on the building core and shell, as well as project management on the hotel, in partnership with the world’s leading luxury hospitality company, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Experience and planning set the stage for success
The complex project required thoughtful strategic planning, scheduling, and budgeting to minimize risk. JLL worked with United Properties to navigate the brand standards, the high expectation for finishes and other considerations for constructing a five-star facility. The upfront planning enabled the project team to build an aggressive budget with the appropriate returns to make the project viable.
The right technology tools and processes also paved the way for a smooth project. JLL’s project cost tracker provided the developer with more accurate investment totals for the office, hotel and condo portions of the property—critical information for the valuation of each component.
Creativity in unprecedented times
In addition to the normal challenges that greet a project of this size, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unique complexities. From travel restrictions to material and labor shortages, the project team met the challenges head-on with innovative strategies.
For example, when lockdowns prevented the Toronto-based Four Seasons team from traveling to the site, the project team arranged virtual tours of the hotel room model via FaceTime and the Matterport 3D platform.
When the decision to reduce two hotel floors to add two floors of condos was made, the project team adjusted the entire mixed-use construction timeline to ensure the project stayed on schedule.
A shiny new beacon of warmth and light
Completed within budget and on schedule during a global pandemic, RBC Gateway Tower brings 1.2 million square feet of new construction to the Minneapolis skyline. The finished product includes:
- 531,000 square feet of office space on 16 floors
- 222 Four Seasons hotel rooms on eight floors
- 34 Four Seasons Private Residences condos on six floors
- Independent office, hotel and resident lobbies
- Outdoor pool and bar
- Indoor pool and spa
- Public plaza and green space
- Skyway connection
- Full-service ground-level restaurant & café
- 428 underground parking spaces
The sheer size of the tower isn’t the development’s only remarkable feature. Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis hotel promises to deliver a luxury hospitality experience unmatched in Minneapolis. The office portion of the project, meanwhile, has been designed as a top-tier space with premium, modern amenities to attract today’s talent. It will be among the first properties in Minnesota to achieve Fitwel certification for Commercial Interiors, a designation reserved for offices that support healthier workplace environments and improve occupant health and productivity.
Tenants and guests are steps away from neighborhood and Mississippi riverfront parks and trails, within two blocks of the Metro light rail and bus stops, and close to Interstates 94 and 394. All of this, plus unparalleled views of the Mississippi River and the city of Minneapolis. The landmark project brings new energy to downtown Minneapolis, boosting the city’s reputation as a premier destination for talent, tourists, and residents alike.