Solera Restaurant In Downtown Mpls. Closes

WCCO | CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Solera Restaurant and Event Center in Minneapolis has closed its doors.

The restaurant announced it was closed Saturday afternoon.

The general manager released a statement saying, “With hundreds of new dining options in town, most offering small plates, the Spanish food and wine niche seems too small for a 220 seat restaurant, two floors of event space and popular rooftop bar.”

The statement said the building owners are currently looking for a more accessible concept for the space.

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‘RENOVATION RAIDERS’ (HGTV) HOUSE IN SHAKOPEE HITS THE MARKET!

“Shakopee homeowners went out to dinner, and came home to a new kitchen and dining room as part of HGTV’s “Renovation Raiders.” Now, you can have it for $259,000.”


Peter and Lauren Soderberg’s split-level house in Shakopee had its 15 minutes of fame in June 2013 when it was featured on HGTV’s “Renovation Raiders” and in the Star Tribune’s Sunday Homes section.

At the time, “Raiders” was a brand-new show with an offbeat gimmick: The homeowners vacate the premises for a long, leisurely dinner, and a crew descends on their house to give it an instant makeover. To add some suspense, one member of the couple is kept completely in the dark until arriving home for the big reveal.

When the Soderbergs appeared on the show, Lauren was the spouse who got the surprise.

Peter had proposed one of his occasional “mystery date nights” and taken her to Spill the Wine in Minneapolis for a seven-course dinner. “I had no suspicions whatsoever,” she said.

But there were a few clues that something was up. “He was acting kind of strange, texting a lot during dinner, which is not like him,” she said. A waitress brought Champagne and told them Peter’s friend had ordered it for them, which extended their stay at the restaurant. “I did feel it was taking a long time.”

Then on the way home, after reading yet another text message, Peter decided to stop for gas. “It was like 11:30, and I had to get up at 6 a.m.,” said Lauren, who at the time was in her final year of veterinary school. “I said, ‘Let’s go home,’ but he rerouted us to some weird gas station.”

When they finally arrived home, and walked into a brand-new kitchen, it looked so startlingly different that Lauren thought they were in the wrong house. “I was so confused! The kitchen is the first thing you see. Then I saw camera crews. It was an out-of-body experience.”

RUSTIC MODERN:

Even though Lauren didn’t get to choose the look of her improved home, she was delighted with the changes. “They hit the nail on the head with the kitchen,” she said. “It has a rustic country feel, yet modern.” She wasn’t sure about the blue island at first, but she’s come to like it.

The couple had bought the house about a year and a half earlier, intending to tackle the kitchen eventually. Lauren, who loves to cook, wasn’t thrilled with its mismatched cabinets, stained laminate countertops and an island that wasn’t anchored to the floor.

The house, built in 1992, had gone into foreclosure, and the previous owner had ripped out some cupboard doors and light fixtures. The bank had fixed up the house to sell, but only minimally. Still, the Soderbergs were game to move in now and upgrade later.

“We had looked at a lot of foreclosed homes in our budget,” Lauren said. We were looking for something that was livable, but could be improved upon.”

“Renovation Raiders” put the project on the fast track. Peter had a friend with a connection to the new TV show, and he suggested the Soderbergs’ house as a makeover candidate. “He knew it was up their alley,” Lauren said.

Peter took a video of the kitchen and dining area on his cellphone and sent it to the show. “I explained how I wanted to surprise Lauren, and why she deserved a new kitchen,” he said at the time.

QUICK FIX:

Their home was selected, a date was set, and Peter and Lauren went off to their very long dinner date. While they were gone, a crew from the show removed a wall and replaced the mismatched golden-oak cabinets with new white cabinets accented with metal mesh inserts. They installed new stainless-steel appliances and built a new island, with a mini-doghouse for the couple’s pug, Toshiro. New wood floors tied together the kitchen and adjacent dining room, which also got new window treatments, light fixtures, a table, and a custom bar with a wine refrigerator, wine rack and kegerator for Peter’s home-brewed beer.

The enhancements changed the way the couple live in their home, Lauren said. “We definitely do a lot more entertaining now.”

Since the TV show aired, the couple have tackled a few home improvements on their own. They recarpeted the lower level, and remodeled one of their two bathrooms, adding Travertine tile, a new toilet and vanity.

Now that Lauren has graduated and is a veterinarian, the couple have decided to move to a house in Prior Lake with a hobby farm where she can keep horses. Their new house is very similar to the one they’re leaving — minus the new kitchen. “It’s a three-level split, but the kitchen is definitely a downgrade,” said Lauren. In addition to the new kitchen, the 1,800-square-foot house they’re selling features three bedrooms, a cul-de-sac location in a kid-friendly neighborhood and a spacious back yard.

She’s looking forward to having a place where she can keep her horses at home, but she’s sorry to leave her made-for-TV kitchen behind. “I just love the butcher-block countertops, and the white cabinets are beautiful,” she said. “I’ll miss everything about it.”


CLICK HERE TO READ: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/286880881.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue 

RADON REDUCTION WORK GROWS IN MINNESOTA

More Minnesotans are fixing up their homes to reduce the level of cancer-causing radon gas, partly because of a year-old state law governing real estate sales.

The Minnesota Radon Awareness Act, which took effect last January, requires home sellers to notify buyers if the home has been tested for radon, provide the results of that test and disclose if any work has been done to fix problems. Sellers are also required to provide a “warning statement” and written information about radon to buyers.

The number of homes getting radon mitigation work has averaged 1,279 annually in recent years, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. But in the first nine months of 2014, that number had already nearly doubled, to 2,389.

“We encourage every homeowner to test their home and fix it,” Tranter said. “Because if they don’t now, they may have to during the home sale — and they can also receive the benefits of reduced radon exposures.”

Radon testing takes a few days, and homeowners can get test kits from city and county health departments, hardware stores or radon testing labs. Mitigation work typically involves installing a pipe beneath the home that helps vent dangerous gases out of the home.


CLICK HERE TO READ:  http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/287166161.html

SIGNED CONTRACTS TO BUY HOMES RISE 0.8 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER [2014]

National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimates that 2014 sales will end up below 2013 levels. The trade group forecasts that 4.94 million existing homes will be sold this year, down 3 percent from 5.09 million in 2013. Analysts say sales of roughly 5.5 million existing homes are common in a healthy real estate market.

Hopes are higher for the new year. In 2015, the group expects sales of existing homes to jump to 5.3 million.

The U.S. economy has generated 2.65 million new jobs so far this year, and the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent at the start of 2014. Buying could also be helped by average 30-year mortgage rates staying close to a 19-month low. Rates nationwide averaged 3.87 percent this week, according to the mortgage company Freddie Mac.


CLICK HERE TO READ: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/287206911.html

MILLENNIAL POPULATION JUMPS SHARPLY IN TWIN CITIES

The Twin Cities have an abundance of well-regarded colleges and universities, but it’s broadly believed that economics are driving the trend. The region has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and a modest cost of living compared with many cities on the coasts.
Because of a combination of relatively inexpensive house prices, high wages and low property taxes, the Twin Cities were recently singled out by the Atlantic magazine as the second-most-affordable place in the nation for millennials.

In the 25 counties, including Hennepin, with the biggest increase in millennial population between 2007 and 2013, fair market rents a property in 2015 will require 30% of the median household income.  Buying a median-priced home in the county requires 36% of median household income.
“First-time buyers and potential boomerang home buyers are stuck between a rock and a hard place in today’s housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.


CLICK HERE TO READ ARTCLE: http://www.startribune.com/local/287064231.html

TOP 10 HOT HOUSING MARKETS TO WATCH IN 2015 • {Minneapolis, MN}

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Minneapolis: Favorite for Millennial Home Owner Growth and Growth in New Construction

A diverse economy and strong housing affordability lands Minneapolis on our list. The Twin Cities area continues to show low unemployment and is setting new records for jobs in 2014.

The combination of the booming job market and affordable housing makes the city of lakes a hot spot for millennials.

In fact, it’s the second-largest market in the nation among home-owning millennials. The Minneapolis area is also seeing strong growth in new construction, which helps provide supply to meet the increased demand.

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE: Top 10 Hot Housing Markets to Watch in 2015

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Homeowners: 15 Things You Need To Do In 2015

1. Get rid of the beige. It’s been replaced by gray. Really. Do it. Gray isn’t going anywhere.

2. Make a big change. Knock down a wall. Change your countertops. Convert the upstairs loft to a full-blown entertainment room. If not now, when?

3. Make a bunch of small changes. Walk through your house and make a list, room by room, of little things that could be updated. Then, start tackling them one at a time. Paint the guest room and change the bedding. Swap out the old art over your fireplace with something new. Take down the unorganized family photos in the hallway and turn the space into a revitalized gallery (here are some ideas to get you started). You’ll feel good about yourself for finishing projects that are probably long overdue, and you’ll also feel better about your refreshed home.

4. Splurge on something you need. The giant old TV that you have to smack on the side to get the channels to turn? Dump it. It’ll only cost you a couple hundred bucks to get a good size flat-screen in there instead.

Popsugar suggests we “take a long, hard look at our homes and identify the key pieces where substance is as important as style and where investing in high-quality pieces the first time around can save money in the long run,” like a “supportive bed, a durable table, or a solid sofa.”

Splurge on something you don’t. A rogue piece of furniture like a vibrant peacock blue chair or a graphic patterned rug in a room that is otherwise sedate can give the space a lift. And, it’ll put a smile on your face every time you walk past it.

5. Surprise someone. Paint your teenage daughter’s room in a new hue of purple (her fave!) while she’s at school one day. That’s bound to improve her mood (if only for an afternoon) and maybe even inspire her to keep it clean (but probably not).

6. Plant something pretty. Plants and flowers are known mood-lifters. Plus, a nice landscape is key for adding curb appeal to your home, which can make it more valuable and easier to sell if you are thinking of putting it on the market.

7. Add plants to the inside of your home too. According to the principles of feng shui live plants, and especially how they are placed in the home, “can affect your fortune,” said Natural Health magazine. They can also improve the air quality in a home and “help us heal,” said the National Gardening Association. “Scientists have found that settings containing plants have a measurable influence on recovery even for hospital patients who are acutely stressed. Some achieve benefits after only a few minutes of exposure to plants. Hospital workers benefit too, as they seek plant-filled environments to escape from work stress during the day.”

8. Update your lighting. Updating the chandeliers in your entry or dining room or replacing the old, builder-grade fans you have throughout your home is an easy way to give your home a lift.

9. Clean out your pantry. Canned goods that are still within their sell date but that you know will never be used are great for donating to food banks.

10. Clean out your garage. Jerry Seinfeld recently joked that once items move to the garage, they never make it back into the house. So as long as you’re in a cleaning mood, might as well take advantage of an opportunity to get in there too.

11. De-clutter…everything! It’ll make you feel better to un-pile the piles, to empty out the closets, and to finally see your countertops again.

12. Learn a new skill. A few hours at Home Depot can teach you how to install a backsplash, put in new flooring, or build a storage ottoman.

13. Get automated. Start by trashing that old thermostat and make your life easier with Nest, a “learning thermostat (that) learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone. Teach it well and the Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20%.” Then, look at ways you can automate everything from your lights to your security system. You can see CNET’s best automated products of 2014 here.

14. Take a stand against boring. It’s OK to paint a wall fuchsia. Or flank your fireplace in shiny emerald green bookcases. Or throwing a giant animal print rug down in your living room. This year, go bold. It might surprise you how liberating it can be to take your style to the next level. You might also find a bidding interior designer inside!

15. Fall in love again. If you’re like most people, your home is your most valuable asset. It’s also where you spend the majority of your time. If you aren’t really feeling it right now, change it. Rearrange the furniture. Get a few new pieces. Paint a treasured but tired item your favorite color. Injecting some life into your home will help make it feel new again and bring back that loving feeling.

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(Source: REALTY TIMES)

ARTICLE LINK: “Homeowners– 15 Things You Need To Do In 2015”