In 1984, Steve Wellington launched Wellington Management, Inc. (WMI) as a solo enterpreneur. Initially based in Saint Paul's historic Lowertown district, WMI began developing small office and retail properties. The company's first project, a 21,000 square foot, three-story bank building, was leased up four months after completion. Another early project, a 10,000 square foot retail center called Park Crossing, was constructed in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul's West Midway area. This retail center, still a part of our portfolio, continues to be anchored by a convenience store and Bruegger's Bagel Shop.
In 1989, WMI tackled two major mixed-use suburban developments: North Oaks Village Center and Woodbury City Centre. These projects, which required almost five years to complete, remain high-performing office and retail developments located in the heart of two of the region’s most vibrant and busy suburban centers.
The real estate downturn of the early 1990's provided WMI with an opportunity to acquire a number of under-performing assets at a relatively low cost. Between 1992 and 1997, WMI added more than 30 buildings to its property management portfolio. Many of these older properties were "value-add" type acquisitions, which required WMI to creatively redevelop buildings in need of new investment. In 1997, WMI acquired the 200,000 square foot former State Farm Insurance building in suburban Roseville, transforming it into the Minnesota Office Plaza, now serving as headquarters of the Minnesota Department of Education. The Valley Creek Mall in Woodbury was revitalized with an extensive face-lift. Snelling Office Plaza in St. Paul transformed a vacant big-box store into three single-level office buildings which are now fully leased to successful technology and health care tenants, as well as Wellington Management itself.
More recently, the company expanded its reach to a growing number of ambitious urban redevelopment projects. These include the $16 million redevelopment of the Hi-Lake Shopping Center in south Minneapolis and the award-winning $8 million Penn Lowry Crossing project in north Minneapolis. The $11 million renovation of the Drake Building and the $14 million redevelopment of Bandana Square were two additional redevelopment projects in Saint Paul, both of which successfully revitalized historic commercial buildings.
Between 2002 and 2007, WMI expanded into residential construction with three successful urban condominium projects: Emerald Gardens (212 units), Metro Lofts (67 units) and Corridor Flats (36 units). All three of these projects experienced strong sales and solid financial success in a very competitive marketplace. Furthermore, both Metro Lofts and Corridor Flats won neighborhood design awards.
Despite the challenges presented by a nationwide recession, WMI continued to expand and develop between 2009 and 2013. Notable projects during this period included the River Bend Business Center, a 160,000 square foot three-building business park in St. Paul, a new Goodwill retail store in Coon Rapids (2009), a Walgreens in Arden Hills (2011), a CVS Pharmacy in Burnsville (2012), a Dairy Queen in Bloomington (2012) and an LA Fitness in Richfield (2012). WMI also recently developed two new charter schools and in 2013 completed Shadow Falls, a 12-unit condominium project in St. Paul's Mississippi River Boulevard.
At each phase of the company’s growth, President Steve Wellington has encouraged WMI employees to expand their skills and tackle new challenges. The company has successfully followed a thoughtful, yet an opportunistic, business strategy, keeping attuned to current market conditions and adjusting its focus so that it can continue to build and develop. Our 30 employees are proud to manage a $400 million portfolio of more than 90 commercial properties with over 600 tenants located in 18 different urban and suburban Twin Cities communities.
Investing in our community means so much more to us than developing properties. Looking beyond our business portfolio, Wellington Management, Inc. is proud to participate in a number of philanthropic projects, from raising funds for the Minnesota Heart Walk to working with Habitat for Humanity's "Brush With Kindness" and The Sheridan Story, which provides weekend meals for local students. For more information on WMI's charitable work, please click here.