Schafer Richardson Celebrates 25 Years in Business!

Posted Under: News

Join us this week in celebrating Schafer Richardson’s 25th year in business! 🥂

We will be sharing 5 facts each day this week about how our company began, accomplishments we’ve made, areas in which we are growing, and where we’re headed. Cheers to 25 years!
  • Schafer Richardson was founded by Brad Schafer and Kit Richardson in November of 1995. Prior to opening the company, Brad and Kit were partners at Griffin Real Estate Company.


  • Schafer Richardson’s first office was a small back room in the Cedar Cliff Shopping Center, created by cutting a larger office about in half. It had no windows; Brad and Kit sat facing a blank wall with a shared desk top between them. They wore a suit and tie to work for many years and ate lunch together virtually every day, which is when they discussed business issues.


  • On “opening day” Kit was out of town while Brad showed up for work in a suit and tie. That morning Brad noticed a “mess” left by a dog on the front entry sidewalk and realized nobody else was going to pick it up, so he did. He has never let Kit forget that.


  • Mary Swanson, Brad’s secretary from Griffin Real Estate Company, was Schafer Richardson’s first employee. She became the Office Manager, receptionist, and kept everything running smoothly for the company to grow.


  • Schafer Richardson’s first two purchases were the Bulk Storage Facility in Maplewood and the master-leased Cedar Cliff Shopping Center, both of which were owned 50-50 by Kit and Brad. The Bulk Storage Facility was purchased by borrowing the down payment and assuming the existing debt. Brad and Kit paid back the borrowed down payment in less than 30 days, upsetting their first banker because he had hoped to earn some interest. They master-leased Cedar Cliff Shopping Center for 99 years.


  • Established in 2008, Schafer Richardson Management Services (SRM) oversaw a portfolio of 14 properties; which included the Cedar Cliff Shopping Center where Schafer Richardson originally began. The property is still managed by SRM to this day.


  • Presently, SRM manages and leases nearly 4.5 million square feet of office, retail, industrial, medical and residential real estate across 50 properties in the Upper Midwest, concentrated in MN, NE and MO. The portfolio of properties consists of assets developed and owned by Schafer Richardson as well as properties owned by third party companies, and private developers and owners.


  • In March 2020, Schafer Richardson/SRM was named Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal 17th largest commercial property management firm in the Twin Cities, with 2,150,000 SF of commercial space under management in the Twin Cities region.


  • Nearly a century ago, The Gurley Candy Company, makers of Hidden Treasures chocolates, Cherry Juleps, and other popular treats, built “one of the finest sunlight factories in the Twin Cities.” Schafer Richardson with the assistance of UrbanWorks Architecture LLC re-envisioned and rehabilitated the Gurley Building into 30 spacious, sunlit apartments and 10,000 square feet of commercial space, which is currently occupied by Schafer Richardson’s HQ office and also Alchemy 365


  • Fire Station 14, located in the Snelling-Hamline neighborhood of St. Paul, was converted from a former fire station serving the City of St. Paul into a two story historic professional office building and is one of the assets currently managed by SRM.


  • While Schafer Richardson began its development career through pioneering the revival of the North Loop and Northeast neighborhoods in Minneapolis, we have grown our footprint to include projects throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.


  • Our company’s development work focuses on innovation and creative problem solving. Whether it be converting a vacant 100-year old casket warehouse to affordable housing using historic and low-income housing tax credits; repurposing a tired office tower into an urban center of innovation for start up entrepreneurs; or partnering with property owners and nonprofits to create developments that fit the context, character, and needs of a neighborhood, Schafer Richardson uses out-of-the-box thinking to deliver value to the places we live, work, and play.


  • In relation to residential development, our team has developed 18 high-density housing properties with 2,117 units and a total project cost of $486 million. Presently, nearly $315M worth of projects are under construction and in our project pipeline.


  • Schafer Richardson’s development team is a small, but powerful, group that plays an active role within the company and also within the real estate community through their involvement with organizations like Urban Land Institute, NAIOP, and USGBC Minnesota.


  • Although Brad and Kit originally launched Schafer Richardson with a major focus on investing in existing commercial properties, and had no immediate business plans to expand into residential and mixed-use development, this service has become an important pillar from which our company prospers and is an area in which we intend to be a primary focus within our company.


  • On September 15th, 2014 Schafer Richardson founded its private, non-traded real estate investment trust, SR Realty Trust (SRRT)


  • The share price in 2014 was $9.00 and has risen to $12.50. That’s a 39% increase in six years!


  • SRRT currently has 28 properties in its diversified real estate portfolio, including industrial, retail, office, and multifamily properties


  • The portfolio of properties stretches across five states in the upper Midwest – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska.


  • SRRT’s current offering, Time Certificates, is new this year. It offers investors flexible terms from 30 days to 10 years and attractive interest rates from 0.85% to 4.00%.


  • Schafer Richardson Construction (SRC) was re-established on January 1st, 2020 and provides a complete range of construction services for Schafer Richardson’s commercial and residential portfolio, from capital projects to tenant improvements. They also have been involved in several of our historic rehab projects, especially throughout the North Loop. Most recently, they assisted our development team in turning the former Weather-rite building (which was a manufacturing plant throughout the 20th century) into a beautiful multi-tenant office building.


  • SRC team members have over 175 years of combined construction industry experience and the company has added 3 corporate level positions since Fall of 2019.  Debb MacKenzie, one of SR’s longest tenured and most valued associates, has served as the group’s lead accountant for 22 years.


  • SRC will have completed over 140 projects in 2020 for both the SR portfolio, as well as many third party clients, with projects ranging in value between $100 and $13,000,000.


  • When Schafer Richardson began in 1995, John Klatt began doing some maintenance work for Brad and Kit at Cedar Cliff Shopping Center in the evenings. They eventually convinced him to join the company fulltime and John was the entire Schafer Richardson construction team for many years, doing everything required as more properties were purchased. John remains a valued employee at the company today and oversees numerous projects annually with SRC.


  • SRC also serves as a construction manager/owner’s representative for our many development projects- we have 5 multi-family projects underway in the MSP area currently, including 3 in Minneapolis, 1 in White Bear Lake and 1 in St. Paul that are all slated to be completed in 2021, as well as several more that we are in the planning and entitlement stages to begin work on through the next year.  Additionally, SRC works with SR Realty Trust’s acquisition team to evaluate potential new properties to add to our portfolio throughout the upper Midwest.