Reinvesting in hard-hit properties

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The metro area still has plenty of struggling retail centers and empty former big box stores whose owners can't get investors or bank refinancing to rehab them.

That lack of lender interest is still the primary problem facing commercial property owners "underwater" on their mortgages, said Herb Tousley of the Shenehon Center for Real Estate at the University of St. Thomas.

"The depreciation aspect of this is good, but the crux of the problem is that property values have gone down a lot and it's hard to get financing if you want to do a rehab on a property," he said. "Something in the form of a loan guarantee that could encourage more financing may help more."

Tousley said the Twin Cities is full of "mom and pop" owners with distressed commercial properties who'd like to do competitive upgrades if loans were available.

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Originally published: 03/27/2011, Star Tribune