Ohio-based M/I Homes officially moved into the Twin Cities on Dec. 1 with its acquisition of Hans Hagen Homes.

M/I announced in October that it was acquiring the Minnesota-based builder, which has been constructing new home communities across the Twin City metro area for 50 years. Hans Hagen Homes delivered 122 homes in 2014, with an average selling price of $351,000, making it one of the top ten home builders in the market.

In this mergers-and-acquisitions cycle, M/I has been fairly quiet. “It’s very important to us to have the right opportunity,”  Senior Vice President Kevin Hake says . “Whether that’s a startup with an individual that we think is a good fit and has the right background, or through an acquisition. We made two acquisitions in Texas over the last four years, but we haven’t made real big acquisitions in multiple markets.”

But the Twin Cities have remained a target for the public builder. Hake says that M/I has been looking at Minneapolis and St. Paul for the last four years. The market’s steady job growth in recent years appealed to the company and “Minneapolis didn’t fall as hard as other markets in the downturn,” Hake adds.

Hake says M/I was attracted to Hans Hagen Homes because of a good reputation in the market and its quality homes. With the purchase, Hans Hagen, the leader the company, is retiring, “But we think what he has in place underneath him is the right fit and allows us to hit the ground running," Hake says.

To make sure the transition goes smoothly, M/I has hired Gary White, a builder with 25 years’ experience in the Chicago market, to oversee its Minneapolis/St. Paul endeavor. “We felt because of the team in place at Hans Hagen Homes,” Hake says, “it allowed us to consider candidates from outside of Minneapolis.”

Hake wouldn’t project the number of homes M/I will build next year in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but is confident about the future there. M/I generally prefers to start small in a market and then invest further in operations once they’re up and running. “We think it’s a market we can compete in well against the competition that’s there,” he says.