MSCA Newsletter: Sencha Tea Bar

sencha tea bar

For the MSCA April 2016 Newsletter, Steve contributed an article on a recent project: Sencha Tea Bar. Below is a re-post of the article.

If you are looking for a change to the daily coffee or soda drive-thru routine, look no further than the newly re-branded Sencha Tea Bar chain. Founded in 2001 as the Tea Garden, the six store chain, with five locations in the Twin Cities and one in Madison, Wisconsin, is nearing the completion of the brand makeover.

Sencha Tea Bar is a locally owned, family business which allows guests to experience “your tea, your way.” The management team partnered with the design firm Shea, Inc. to design a prototype store that would expand the existing customer base and increase traffic during the earlier day parts with a renewed focus on loose leaf tea.

The Uptown location was chosen to be the first to undergo the transformation in the Spring of 2015. One of the signature components of the new design is the rotating tea rack over the bar that contains over 125 different canisters of loose leaf teas. A variety of seating options are available, from comfy lounge seating to stools at the bar, most in close proximity to an electrical outlet and a USB charging station for your laptop and phone. The new fixtures and finishes create a simple, yet sophisticated atmosphere for the new tea bar experience.

Along with the new name and new look are new menus and products to sample. The award-winning drinks range from colorful, tropical bubble teas to a global expanse of traditional loose leaf teas. You can cozily sip your favorite drink at each of the tea bars, or take home any of the expansive list of loose leaf teas, and become your own tea master at home.

There are delicious food and snack items to sample as well. Whether you need your morning  beverage to get you going or a place to hold an afternoon meeting, Sencha Tea Bar now offers a more interesting option than the corporate coffee guy on the corner. Sencha Tea Bar – It’s Tea Time.

Always Learning to Better Serve Our Clients

Sullivan|Day Construction is committed to always learning to better serve our clients.  Whether it be subscribing to daily/weekly/monthly market publications; attending a breakfast event with a local real estate organization; attending and exhibiting at a state wide multi-day conference focusing on the latest techniques, equipment, and processes for veterinary medicine; or very in-depth, three day, hands-on workshop on the how to’s of starting your own brewery/distillery – we find great value in the power of educating ourselves on the ins and outs of our clients business.

Our take-aways from this time and monetary investment:

  • Better understand your business so we can better tailor our services to your needs
  • Be an additional resource for your business as you start-up or expand
  • Align ourselves with industry specific professionals to stay abreast on legal, market, technical, and other changes that impact your business on a regular basis.

Our goal is to make sure that you have all of the necessary information to make the decisions required to own and operate your business.

Contact us to learn more about what have learned for you!

Client Testimonial – Neuger Communications

It’s no secret that we care about our clients. Our goal for every project is to provide a high quality product and deliver delight. But we could talk all day about our project goals. What’s more important is to ask our clients about whether or not a project met their goals. That’s why we were more than pleased when

Neuger Communications Group President and CEO David Neuger told us that he would provide a client testimonial of his experience working with our team on the firm’s new Minneapolis office space. Find out what David said about partnering with our construction firm by watching the video below. (Spoiler alert: David was very pleased!) To learn more about the Neuger Communications Minneapolis office space, click here.

MSCA Newsletter: Nadia Cakes

An article

by our very own Steve Day was published in the February 2015 MSCA newsletter about our Nadia Cakes project. Read the re-post of the article below:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day is the arrival of the latest store from Nadia Cakes. The eastern Twin Cities will now get to taste the decadent cupcakes that are the signature item baked at this expanding dessert retailer. The new 2,700 sf bakery/café on Commerce Drive in Woodbury will be the third company store, and second in Minnesota. The new location will add ice cream to the menu of cupcakes (boasting over 150 flavors!), custom cakes, and a variety of drinks.

The store, designed by Shea, is centered around the incredible display of cupcakes and desserts, including the use of a cake-inspired ceiling soffit overhead with an antique chandelier. The space has a variety of seating, including a community table for decorating parties, and comfortable lounge furniture surrounding a fireplace.

Nadia Cakes is the brainchild of Abby Jimenez, a former general manager in the retail sector, who turned to her passion for baking desserts as a way to work out of her home in Palmdale, CA while she raised three young daughters.

Within two years, the business outgrew the home-based model, so with the help of family and friends, she opened the first Nadia Cakes retail location in Palmdale, CA. Within two months, the success of the store led her husband Carlos to also give up his full time job and join the company as CFO.

Abby and Carlos relocated their family to Minnesota in 2011 and opened their second store at the Fountains of Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove. The concept has attracted a very loyal and rabid customer base and has won numerous awards for their products. Nadia Cakes has also made waves on a national scale, with victories on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and “Holiday Baking Championship”. Future plans include a measured growth strategy with tactical expansion in other states.

Come treat yourself or your significant other this Valentine’s Day with something from Nadia Cakes!


Oak Knoll Animal Hospital, St. Louis Park

Sometimes you need to give something to receive.  In 2012, Sullivan|Day Construction was approached by the leasing agent for the owners of Oak Knoll Animal Hospital in St. Louis Park to help with assessing the building they were considering buying to relocate their clinic into.  With no promise of future work, we performed a site visit and delivered our findings including a detailed examination of the roof and what it would cost to replace.  We stayed in touch with

the architect and client over the next two years and were granted an opportunity to bid on the project in early 2014.  We were selected as the general contractor and helped the project team come up with cost savings ideas to get the project closer to the doctor’s desired budget.  The facility was built in the fall and opened in December 2014.

The building, built in 1951, has an interesting history and posed a variety of challenges for the design and construction team.  The building has housed the Swatez Department Store, several hardware and bike stores, and the last tenant was Pizza Hut.  The 60 year old Swatez sign on the east side of the building was exposed after a large billboard was removed at the outset of the project.

The scope called for the complete demolition of the interior space, including the improvements in the basement.  Asbestos was discovered in floor tile and mastic, hidden under several layers of other flooring, and had to be abated.  The roof structure was not sufficient to hold the new roof top HVAC equipment so that was set on pads on the outside of the building in the rear.  The front façade was completely remodeled including new storefront and entry, corner tower element, stucco, stone, canopy and sign.  The project has a resulted in a beautiful addition to Minnetonka Blvd. and a great new home for Oak Knoll’s clients and team members.

RE/MAX Results, Minneapolis

Sullivan|Day recently completed the RE/MAX Results office space with architect WCL Associates, Inc. WCL has a long-standing relationship with RE/MAX and was able to design an office space that retains their key branding details and captures the history and unique aesthetics offered by the space. When construction on the project commenced, the space consisted of an open first floor and lower level with minimal demolition required.

Design highlights include:

• Sliding glass office doors
• High ceilings and windows
• Reuse of original wood doors
• Exposed wood joists and stone foundation
• Two new steel stair cases with stainless steel cable rails
• Complementary mixture of traditional and contemporary elements

The project construction took place between May and July. The offices are now nearly filled with realtors who are thrilled with the aesthetics of the space and its proximity to their growing client base of downtown residents.

Prior to construction, the building was acquired by owners who made a significant investment in the space by upgrading the mechanical and electrical systems,

improving storefront windows and entrances, adding a fire sprinkler system and exterior improvements such as landscaping and painting.

Located in the Washington Yale Addition on the north side of Loring Park in Minneapolis, the first tenant for this 1918 building was Northern States Motors/Allen Motor Car Co. Tenants also included the Long Motor Company, the Downes Motor Company, the Kardio Corporation, Timken Bearing Corporation and the Minnesota Bearing Co. Developed at the turn of the century, a majority of the Washington Yale Addition was dedicated to automotive usage for Minneapolis residents who were moving farther away from the heart of the city. See photos of the building exterior and interior in the early to mid-1900s below.

Historical Photos:

Completed Project Photos:

MSCA STARR Awards Winner – Peoples Organic, Wayzata

Sullivan|Day Construction is pleased to announce the recently completed Peoples Organic project in Wayzata was awarded the Minnesota Shopping Center Association (MSCA) Shopping Center Tribute Award for Retail Real Estate (STARR) Award for Design and Aesthetics Renovation/Remodel – Interior under 5,000 square feet.  We wish to thank the MSCA, the award judges, and the retail real estate community for this recognition and would like to congratulate all of the other winners and nominees.  All of the nominees deserve recognition for their hard work and the great outcome of their projects.

The current building was constructed in 1972 after nearly 50 years of previous structures and uses.  The westerly 40% of the building floor slab was

constructed on grade beams supported by pilings while the easterly 60% of the building floor slab was constructed on-grade.  As a result of the soils conditions in the area and utility construction in the roadways surrounding the property, the floor slab in the southeastern portion of the building had settled creating problematic floor conditions for new and existing tenants.  In late 2013, People’s Organic inked a deal for the corner suite, part of which required permanent resolution of the floor slab issue.  The solution involved removal of the existing floor slabs in the area of work, installation of helical piers to support a new concrete slab, and a new structural floor slab followed by build-out of the new People’s Organic.

Construction of the landlord’s work (primarily the floor structure) was challenging.  The previous building owners solutions to the floor settling had been to pour a new slab over the settled slab.  This was done twice over the life of the building leading to approximately 3’-0” of concrete and sand through which helical piers for the concrete slab and plumbing for Peoples Organic had to be installed.  The top slab was removed and portions of the lower slab removed to allow for these components to be installed.  Once prepped for the helical pier installation, twenty two piers averaging 62 deep with the deepest pier being nearly 83 feet.  The work was loud and dirty and was being completed within an existing building with tenants on all sides.  Interior and exterior safety was a priority as well as minimizing disruption to the tenants and their patrons.

The intent of the building renovation and the leasing of the space to Peoples was to reinvigorate a key retail center in an important are of the Twin Cities market. Additionally, being adjacent to the large Presbyterian Homes development, the investment was necessary to keep the building as a viable option for tenant s looking to enter the strong retail market in Wayzata.

Qdoba Mexican Grill, Minneapolis

Sullivan|Day is proud to announce the recent opening of the newest Qdoba Mexican Grill location in Minneapolis.  Located in the the heart of downtown on skyway level at the corner of 10th and Nicollet, this construction of this new location required a significant amount of plumbing and mechanical upgrades to the leasehold space.  A new fresh air intake louver was added to the exterior of the building along Nicollet Mall and the exhaust louver was added to the exterior of the building along 10th Street.  The Qdoba space is located immediately above an existing restaurant that is open for breakfast through bar close at 2 a.m. which left approximately 5 hours each night for access to the space to complete plumbing rough-ins.  The project required significant coordination on behalf of all parties involved to maintain the eight week schedule.  Thanks to the efforts everyone the project was finished on-time!  Be sure to stop by and check out this great new restaurant option for downtown!

Neuger Communications, Minneapolis

For the company’s new office space in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis, marketing communications firm Neuger Communications Group chose to work with Sullivan|Day Construction and Krech, O’Brien Mueller & Associates (KOMA).  The goal was to design and build a fresh space that strongly reflected the company’s visual brand, reinforced the look of their corporate headquarters and also remained true to the creative North Loop culture.

Headquartered in Northfield, Minn. – a college town about 40 minutes south of the Twin Cities – Neuger Communications Group wanted to expand their presence in the Minneapolis metro area to better serve current clients and gain greater visibility to promote new business development. While considering an expansion to the Twin Cities, the company acquired the Minneapolis PR firm Henry Schaffer Partners in February of 2014. This acquisition helped expedite the process as the new Minneapolis staff was in need of office space.  After scouting numerous possibilities, Neuger Communications chose an office space in the Tractor Works building in the vibrant North Loop of Minneapolis. The building is an ideal mix of rich history (it was originally a John Deere factory) and classic aesthetic with high ceilings and exposed heavy timber construction.

When it came to designing the space, the goal was to marry the progressive elements of the building with the more traditionally corporate culture of the company. The colors, floor covering and paint are identical to those used in the Northfield office but applied uniquely to accentuate the existing brick and wood elements. All new lighting was installed and a leased artwork program utilizing the work of local artists brings fresh painting and sculpture to the space every six months. A new entrance was created recouping formerly underutilized common area square footage into the space.  The angled full glass wall creates a unique, eye-catching entrance that naturally draws people in.

The space evokes a slightly different character than the Northfield location but they still work harmoniously to represent the company’s brand. “Having created the original design,” says interior designer Cindy Nagel. “It was great to be able to determine the key elements to reproduce while allowing the design to go through a process of evolution and to mold itself into a configuration that was uniquely right for this specific space.”

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The Benefits of Hiring a Qualified Construction Manager

The Benefits of Hiring a Qualified Construction Manager


Clients are often confused about the role of the construction manager. Their role is to not just manage a construction project but to act as the client’s construction expert. Owners who have a new construction or remodel project will often run the construction process on their own, without a qualified expert or the knowledge to run a successful project. Construction managers are available to fill in that knowledge or personnel gap and to act as your eyes and ears on a project. Construction managers provide added benefits to a project including:


  1. Consistency for Your Brand

If you are rolling out a large, complex project to different markets, you need to be certain that your brand and user experience is consistent. Hiring a construction manager to oversee the new building or remodel of multiple spaces provides you with someone who will pay attention to every detail, ensuring that your project reflects your brand. They can provide resolutions to the construction team and keep you updated on the project’s progress. They will work hand-in-hand with you and offer an added level of knowledge to develop highly complex projects.


  1. Market Insight

If your company is providing services on a national level, you understand that each market is different. Construction managers who have experience working in new markets understand the research that needs to be completed before moving forward with a project. Factors such as economic growth, finding qualified personnel and overall knowledge of the community all come into play when entering a new market. Likewise, a construction manager who has provided services on a national level can identify process and quality benchmarks in their local market. They can implement new processes or identify holes in due diligence to ensure the highest quality in your project.


  1. One Point of Contact

Whether you are moving forward with a small, local project with a handful of contractors or with a large, national project with different contractors from each market, hiring a construction manager means that you will only need to work with one point of contact. The construction manager handles the communication between each contractor and funnels the information back to you, preserving your time and resources.


  1. Having Someone on Your Side

If you choose to work without a construction manager, you are relying on the word of the architectural partner or general contractor. But because money is a main factor in many construction issues, there is potential for the relationship to become contentious. Hiring a construction manager puts a knowledgeable professional on your side. You are also provided with a checks and balances system to ensure that change orders are reasonable.

Hiring a Construction Manager

No matter the size of your project, you need a construction manager who is well-versed in the construction process, terms and building codes. Any gaps in knowledge will extend the process, costing you time and money. They should also be available for questions and be prepared to execute the project at the highest standards. Review their experience carefully; a construction manager who has experience as a general contractor is better prepared to oversee the site. They can answer questions from subcontractors and navigate local government processes.

When selecting a construction manager, choose one who is available throughout the entire process. They will set up the process from the construction documents to the proposal to the internal team, determining how the project is going to look and what they are to deliver. Once the project goes into construction, the construction manager will work with the contractor on scheduling and reviewing documents before sending them to the owner and architect for approval. The construction manager then works with the contractor on a regular basis to reach milestones, answer constructability questions, discuss change orders and provide specific market insight.

Several types of firms provide construction management services, including architectural partners. While their construction administration offerings might align with those of traditional construction management firms, their perspective is from the design and engineering side, giving them a limited understanding of the constructability of a project.

 Hiring Sullivan|Day as Your Construction Manager

Sullivan|Day provides general contractor services in addition to construction management. That means we bring knowledge and on-site experience to our role as your in-house construction consultant or project manager, and as your representative. We engage with other general contractors and subconsultants, ensuring that there is no confusion about what’s being provided. You can take comfort in knowing that you have a construction expert on your side.

The construction management process at Sullivan|Day is different from what you’ll find at other firms. We provide each project with the communication and attention to detail necessary to make the project great. While some construction managers offer clients a set number of hours and site visits, we offer clients the time needed to fully understand your goals and market, and to finish your project on time, on budget and to the level of quality you expect.

What is it like to work with Sullivan|Day? Just ask U.S. Bank. We recently completed the sixth Ascent Private Capital Management location, creating high-end office environments designed to serve high-net-worth customers.  After completing the first two offices in a standard owner/general contractor relationship, U.S. Bank decided shift to the construction management delivery.  As the construction manager we shared our knowledge with the local general contractor, improving the delivery of the project.  Besides being available every step of the way, we became a great depository of information to refer to when handling issues. Now, U.S. Bank looks forward to working with Sullivan|Day on future Ascent properties and continuing their trusted relationship.

If you would like to learn more about our construction management services, contact Nate Semsch at Sullivan|Day by calling 763.231.2411 or emailing


“We had a difficult situation with a General Contractor on a project.  The General Contractor was not communicating with the team and at the end of the project didn’t finish out the punch list. Nathan took the initiative to step in, including making additional on-site visits, to put in place and oversee a new General Contractor. He never missed a beat. He kept good records of the project and communicated thoroughly so I knew the project was being completed.”

 —Susan Barbagallo, Vice President/Project Manager, Corporate Real Estate, US Bancorp, client since 2013