University of Minnesota Foundation Real Estate Advisors

The University of Minnesota Foundation Real Estate Advisors (UMFREA) supports the outstanding achievements and success of students, faculty, and researchers through prudent management of the foundation’s real estate assets. UMFREA also provides expert advising to University and foundation leaders on real estate strategies and gifts and makes strategic investments that enhance the surrounding campus communities.

Focused on a double bottom line

UMFREA focuses on a “double bottom line”—ensuring that real estate produces an excellent return on investment and contributes to a vibrant and thriving environment for the University and its adjacent communities.

An entrepreneurial and nimble manager, advisor, and partner

Managing: As a good steward, UMFREA carefully manages the real estate assets of the University of Minnesota Foundation to protect and reinforce the investment in and return to the foundation. UMFREA provides direct financial and operational oversight.

Advising: UMFREA advises the foundation and University on strategic real estate issues and assists in cultivation of real estate gifts, with an understanding of how real estate can strengthen the University ecosystem and diversify its financial support. These services include soliciting, analyzing, and negotiating real estate transactions, as well as providing expertise in placemaking, community relations, and community development.

Investing in place: Through partnerships and investing relationships with community groups and private developers, UMFREA is an active leader in promoting the long-term safety, viability, and vibrancy of the surrounding campus area. These partnerships help build robust communities that enhance the University’s ability to recruit and retain the most talented students, faculty, employees, and researchers.

Our foundation and future

In 2007, James Cargill transferred to UMF, with charitable intent, an interest in private residential student housing properties valued at $38 million. Known as the Dinnaken portfolio, the properties are located in the Stadium Village area of the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. 

When full control of the properties was received by UMF in 2012, UMFREA was formed to manage and advise on an expanding set of real estate interests, including how real estate gifts and investments can best be used to advance the University’s mission. UMFREA continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of UMF and champion aspirational, visionary thinking around a key campus gateway for the University community. 

Since its founding, UMFREA has demonstrated that the foundation can expertly manage a gift of income-producing real estate, ensuring excellent stewardship that honors the donor’s intent. UMFREA directly manages the Dinnaken Housing portfolio, which provides nearly 1,000 beds of affordable, high-quality student housing.

As the University of Minnesota Foundation’s dedicated real estate manager and advisor, UMFREA serves the foundation and University community in the vital roles of real estate expert, partner, investor, matchmaker, educator, and instigator. UMFREA is guided by:

  • A dedication to its tenants and community partners
  • High standards for maintaining properties, developing and soliciting new real estate, and advocating for positive market influences
  • A focus on leveraging both the private and public sectors to ensure a thriving University community
  • A responsive approach to market trends that affect the University of Minnesota and the surrounding communities