Interstate Development - Media

Just Sold: Interstate Development dives into bar investment

Published April 10th, 2020 by Anne Bretts.

Editor’s note: Additional details in the transactions come from Plat Research, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, company documents, online real estate listings, F&C archives, CoStar and other research. Some purchase prices and per-unit calculations have been rounded.

Partners Eric Simmer and Lonnie Provencher of Eden Prairie-based Interstate Development have a pretty solid portfolio of commercial, retail and industrial properties. On March 13, they paid $1 million for a 3,700-square-foot building at 3701 Stinson Blvd. in St. Anthony, leased to The Unofficial, a self-proclaimed dive bar and restaurant.

Interstate’s long-term holdings include 46 buildings, with 73 tenants and 2.2 million square feet of space across five states.

Stinson Holdings LLC acquired the former IHop restaurant from SS St. Anthony LLC, an entity related to a Greensboro, North Carolina, investment group. The sellers had owned four of the pancake restaurants in the Twin Cities and after they closed began selling the real estate.

The price works out to $270.27 per square foot.

The Interstate partners made the investment just as the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on the entire economy. Estimates of the percentage of bars and restaurants that won’t be reopening after the forced lockdown are staggering, but Interstate isn’t in a panic.

“The restaurant has been in the community for several years and has a great operator,” said Victoria Perbix, project manager at Interstate.

The idea of a dive bar wasn’t a stretch for The Unofficial’s owner, Chris Christopherson

“I grew up eating greasy cheeseburgers and cherry Cokes with way too much cherry syrup in them,” Christopherson said. Until last year, he also was the owner of Sporty’s Pub & Grill, located near the University of Minnesota in the Como neighborhood of Minneapolis. He closed it after failing to reach an agreement on a new lease and has focused all his attention on the St. Anthony location.

“The neighborhood’s been very good to us,” said Christopherson. It helps that St. Anthony had only three liquor licenses before he applied for one. City officials had to add a license so he could open. He added a patio a couple of years ago.

Christopherson is so confident of The Unofficial’s future that he even shut down take-out service for a few days to finish some minor renovations and chase down paperwork for a small business loan to help bring his 29 employees back to work.

He put new paneling in the men’s restroom and spent $400 on a custom urinal made from polished metal beer keg.

He’s planning to have take-out service running again in a few days and will be ready to welcome diners back inside as soon as he’s allowed.

It’s not dangerous, and it’s definitely not a corporate chain, just a place to hang out and enjoy greasy cheeseburgers.

“It’s whatever you want it to be,” he said.

Place: 3,700-square-foot restaurant, 3701 Stinson Blvd., St. Anthony

Price: $1 million; $270.27 per square foot

Buyer: Stinson Holdings LLC, Interstate Development, Eden Prairie

Seller: SS St. Anthony LLC, Greensboro, North Carolina

Date: 3-13-20

Certificate of real estate value: Just-Sold-CRV-3701-Stinson-Blvd-St-Anthony

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