Shenehon Center for Real Estate

Shenehon Center for Real Estate

2011 Inductee: Robert Hoffman

Published November 10, 2011

Robert Hoffman has been described as the dean of Twin Cities land-use lawyers. His expertise, credibility, and determination have helped him to not only build a successful law firm but also representing clients in many notable real estate projects in the Twin Cities including the Mall of America.

After completing law school, Mr. Hoffman along with Jim Larkin founded Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren, Ltd in 1958. A flip of a coin between Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Larkin paved the way to Mr. Hoffman’s notable accomplishments in land-use and real estate development. Mr. Larkin won the coin toss which allowed him to decide his area of practice would be litigation. With that, Mr. Hoffman chose to focus on land-use and the firm began. Today, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren, Ltd. includes more than 70 lawyers serving clients in more than 20 areas of law.

Mr. Hoffman has represented many development clients in and around the Twin Cities. His most significant projects include his work with the Builders Association of the Twin Cities to develop affordable housing and significant commercial real estate development projects including Trammell Crow 8400 Towers, Minnesota Center office tower, several shopping centers, hotels, apartments and residential communities.  One of his biggest projects included obtaining approval for the development and financing of the Mall of America in Bloomington. While working on the Mall of America project, Mr. Hoffman and his team helped to get legislation passed to facilitate financing, guided the project through Metropolitan Council approvals, and worked closely with the City of Bloomington and Bloomington Port Authority to approve the project.

Mr. Hoffman has given back through his generous service to the community. He served for 14 years as a member of the Bloomington City Council. Former Governor Wendell Anderson appointed Mr. Hoffman to the Metropolitan Council where he served for seven years from 1971 to and chairman of the Bloomington Economic Development Council. While serving on the Metropolitan Council, he lead the committee which developed the new regional growth plan for the entire Twin Cities metropolitan area. The plan was significant, in that it required all metro area cities (over 190 at the time) to adopt comprehensive city plans. This development framework is still followed today.

While working on the controversial Carlson Company headquarter project, Curt Carlson described Mr. Hoffman by saying, "no matter how formidable the obstacle, he was so calm about it. He figured a way to compromise to get it accomplished."

Even as rivals in negotiating the Mall of America project, Ray Haik, the attorney who negotiated for the City of Bloomington team said Mr. Hoffman’s familiarity with the city made it easier to work out a contract that was fair to both sides. "He has an excellent understanding of how to approach the various governmental bodies and has a very disciplined way of presenting the issues."