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Tuesday A.M. Report

February permit numbers a hopeful sign, Opus Northwest gets Iowa contract, Piper Jaffray completes acquisition, Xcel offers solar power incentive, and Kemps launches tangy frozen yogurt.

February permit numbers hold hope for Twin Cities home builders: More new home construction permits were issued in the Twin Cities this February than the same month a year ago, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities reports. The 177 permits issued for 202 metro-area units in February represents a 65-percent increase in permits from February 2009, and the sixth consecutive month that saw higher permit numbers than one year earlier. Read full story

Opus Northwest gets contract for Iowa National Guard: Opus Northwest and Opus Architects & Engineers will design and build a $37.7 million armed forces reserve center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Minnetonka-based developer will start construction on the 170,355-square-foot center in April and finish in August 2011, it said in a news release. Read full story

Piper Jaffray completes Advisory Research acquisition: Piper Jaffray Cos. has completed the nearly $220 million acquisition of Chicago-based asset management firm Advisory Research. The move “will significantly expand our asset management business,” Andrew Duff, Piper Jaffray’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release. Read full story

Xcel offers solar power incentive: Xcel Energy says it will help customers who convert sunlight to electricity. The energy company said in a news release that it is now offering one-time payments for small or medium rooftop photovoltaic systems, based on how much electricity the systems can convert. Read full story

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Kemps launches tangy frozen yogurt line: Kemps has launched a new line of tangy frozen yogurts.  The St. Paul-based dairy company said it hopes its Fro-Zing product will appeal to fitness-minded consumers in Minnesota and Wisconsin markets. The low-fat desserts, available in eight flavors, are advertised as having 110 calories per serving, and contain live and active cultures. Read full story