A look inside the old Minneapolis Public Schools complex at 807 Broadway, now for sale

In the main 807 building, pattern from shelving or equipment now gone, showing wood floors finished and unfinished. (Photos by Margo Ashmore)

“It’s a place that really could be anything,” city planner Haila Maze repeated whenever anyone speculated what the city or school district might go for in a private development of the former Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters building at 807 Broadway St. NE. Four, possibly more potential development teams toured the building with her, Mark Garner of the City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department, and Chad Carr of Minneapolis Public Schools Jan. 3. Another group will go through on Jan. 24 and everyone’s invited to arrange private followup tours for other trades or consultants, or totally private tours.

The school district has hired the city to solicit proposals for purchasing the property in what they call an Open Sale Memorandum process. The school board will decide.

For more information, see the website: www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/807BroadwayNE_OpenSaleMemo.

Garner wrote “Purchase offers and supporting documentation and submittal packets are due on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 at 4 p.m.”

The zoning is I-1 (Light Industrial) with an Industrial Living Overlay. The main building features a hybrid of steel and timber supports. Beyond the offices and conference rooms in the main building, there are several shops where the district manufactures or repairs many things needed in its dozens of facilities. A painting area, a department dedicated to window shades with a wall full of cranks, for example.

Even in these working areas, selectively varnished hardwood floors suggesting previous uses, and floor plans seem relatively intact. Mechanical and facility plans for the building and every other building in the district, in fact, are stored in the building in hanging plan files, behind vault doors with big combination locks, or rolled up and tagged on open shelves in various departments.

Pipefitting and electrical departments, to name a few, are housed in outbuildings with huge metal trusses allowing for vast expanses of uninterrupted floor space.

Carr said Minneapolis Public Schools is actively searching for a new location to house its Plant Maintenance Operations.

Of the furnishings left behind, Carr said there will be a public auction of district stuff in the spring, date yet to be decided, at their warehouse facility at 1550 Jackson St. NE Dock 10. Auctions are held semi-annually in the spring and fall. Auction dates will be posted on the MPS Facilities Page, facilities. mpls.k12.mn.us.

Some pieces were marked with the building they were to go to. It wasn’t clear whether that would still happen or if several someones changed their minds.

As the developers dispersed during the tour into nooks and crannies to plot and dream, they found workplace culture artifacts, such as several laminated quotes from famous people. In the cafeteria, there’s a huge apple painted on the wall with “Feed em Right, Keep em Bright.” At a coffee station, “Don’t complain about the coffee. You may be old and weak yourself someday.”

Cranks for window shades

A pattern suggesting a muted skylight in the outbuilding for the Pipefitting Department

Two boilers serving the main building

A cafeteria sign

Racks for painting

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    Margo Ashmore's picture
    Margo Ashmore

    Margo Ashmore is the editor of NorthNews.