January 30, 2017 Steve Day


Here at SullivanDay we finally feel like we’re past the holiday blur. I think that’s partly because our holiday season started the first week of December—at the Minnesota Shopping Center Association’s annual STARR Awards ceremony, to be exact.

This year, we took home a STARR Award in the Design & Aesthetics Renovation / Remodel, Exterior Retail Over 20,000 SF category for our work on the Tonka Village Shopping Center. We are incredibly honored. The project was a challenging endeavor for all involved, so ending the year with another reminder of its success was very sweet indeed.

STARR Awards, if you aren’t familiar with them, recognize excellence in the retail and shopping center industry. In our award category, the judges look at a project attributes such as the “before and after” story, innovative design, construction approach, and tenant mix, to name a few.

Tonka Village has been around for decades and is a favorite shopping spot among residents of Excelsior. Its renovation certainly did make for a compelling success story. When we started the project in late summer 2015, we immediately discovered challenges with the 1960s structure. The roof was failing, there were dips in the front walkway canopy, and the aesthetics were very dated.

Our team hit the ground running right away. We stabilized the front canopy and replaced its columns with helical piers, all while maintaining access to the retail storefronts. Fixing the roof kept us on our toes at every step. Immediately we could tell the snow resting on it was loaded wrong and that cracks were present. Never a good sign!

We tore portions off, opened up the roof membrane, and constructed a sloped roof on the back of the parapet (protective wall at the edge of the roof) to alleviate the snow-loading issue. Once the structure was sound, we went about updating aesthetics such as paint and lighting. It was truly a major overhaul, and we hope it will keep Tonka Village and its tenants around for decades to come.

Receiving an award is never something we take lightly, and we are very grateful to the MSCA and our colleagues for the recognition. Like every year’s ceremony, there are so many exceptional projects recognized; it’s a great feeling to be included in the pack.