MINOT, N.D., Feb. 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Investors Real Estate Trust (NYSE:IRET) (NYSE:IRETPR) (NYSE:IRETPRB) announced today that it has closed on a joint venture for the construction of an apartment project in Minot, North Dakota. IRET has a 51% interest in the Southgate Apartment project joint venture entity, which commenced construction of the project in September 2012. The Southgate Apartments project is to be completed in two phases, with a total of approximately 341 units. Phase I, the Landing at Southgate, consists of three approximately 36-unit buildings, and is expected to be completed in September 2013. Phase II, the Commons at Southgate, is currently expected to consist of an approximately 233-unit building to be completed in the spring of 2014. The project, which will have a mix of "A" and "B" finish levels and an amenity package including underground and detached parking, is being constructed by Roers Construction of Fargo, North Dakota. IRET currently estimates total costs for both phases of the project at $52.2 million. The development is located near IRET's Plaza 16 property (formerly IRET Corporate Plaza) in southwest Minot. Additionally, on January 11, 2013 IRET acquired 2.16 acres of vacant land in Minot, North Dakota, for approximately $1.9 million. This parcel of land is adjacent to the Southgate Apartment project, and is intended for future commercial development. Separately, IRET also acquired two adjoining parcels of vacant land in the Badger Hills area of Rochester, Minnesota. One parcel, comprised of approximately 20.6 acres of land, was acquired on December 14, 2012 for $775,000. The second parcel, comprised of approximately 3.83 acres of land, was acquired on December 20, 2012 for $275,000. IRET intends to construct apartments on this property. On December 31, 2012, IRET acquired 48.41 acres of vacant land in Grand Forks, North Dakota, for approximately $4.3 million. The purchase price included an UPREIT contribution of $2 million, with the balance paid in cash. IRET intends to construct apartments on a portion of this land.