Updated: Apr 11, 2016, 1:59pm CDT
SAM BLACK | MSPBJ

Highland Bank Court in downtown Minneapolis is underwhelming despite its location on the same Nicollet Mall block as U.S. Bancorp.’s headquarters, but new owner Hempel Cos. aims to update the building that Hempel President Josh Krsnak described as “50 shades of beige.”

Hempel closed on its purchase of Highland Bank Court for about $2.6 million Friday, Krsnak said.

The 1969-built property totals 60,000 square feet of office and retail space on the first floor and skyway level. It also has an underground 70-stall parking garage on two parcels: 811 LaSalle Ave. and 47 Eighth St. S.

The seller was an entity related to Wall Cos. The Wall family also owns St. Paul-based Highland Bancshares Inc., which previously operated a branch in the property.

Highland Bank Court is a unique structure because it is underneath a seven-story parking ramp and the four-story Residence Inn by Marriott Minneapolis. The parking ramp and extended-stay hotel are separately owned and weren’t included in Hempel’s acquisition.

More than half of the office and retail space in Highland Bank Court is vacant. Tenants include Andrea Pizza, Candyland and a Wall Cos. office on the first floor.

Hempel plans to invest about $1.2 million to give the interior of the “sleeper” building a facelift and rebranding to make it more noticeable and reposition it in the market, Krsnak said. The work should begin in the next month and be finished before fall.

“We want to put some life into the building,” he said.

The space is skyway-connected to LaSalle Plaza, Macy’s and U.S. Bancorp Center. It could work for retail or office tenants, particularly companies that want office space near Target Corp.’s headquarters on Nicollet Mall, Krsnak said.