The developer calls it a building with character. According to old photos of 1101 West Broadway’s exterior, it’s also a building with a lot of North Side history.
Since it was built in 1890, its tenants have included a Piggly Wiggly grocery store, a YMCA, a Chinese restaurant (the Moy Cafe), a candy store, a cigar store, dentists and doctors’ offices and building contractors’ offices.
Abandoned and in disrepair after tax forfeiture in 1992, the county took it over and sold it to the City of Minneapolis. Last year the city sold it to a newly formed partnership comprised of the Ackerberg Group, the City-County Federal Credit Union and EMERGE Community Development (formerly part of Pillsbury United Communities, or PUC). After an eight month rehabilitation that included waterproofing the basement and putting in new windows, a new heating and air conditioning system, new wiring and plumbing and a new roof, the two story business center is open for business.
Two of its owners, the credit union (which opened July 16) and EMERGE (which opened in May), are also tenants.
A coffee shop, the Bean Scene, will also soon open in a 700 square foot space on the main floor in the corner. It will be owner Dean Rose’s second coffee shop; his other one is at Penn and West Broadway. Ackerberg said the Bean Scene will likely have a small outdoor seating area.
The building’s grand opening is Friday, Aug. 3, 4-6 p.m, with a program at 4:30 p.m. and tenant open houses afterwards. The event is open to the public.
[UPDATE: The dedication event scheduled for Friday, Aug. 3, has been postponed because of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapse. The event has not yet been rescheduled.]
Stuart Ackerberg, of the Ackerberg Group, said it was no easy thing to rehab such an old building, especially after it had been standing empty for more than a decade.
“When we started work on this building there were three feet of water in the basement. There are some water table problems, and water was coming in through the walls. It was very difficult to level the basement floor,” he said.
Ken Olson, branch manager of the City-County Federal Credit Union, had a different experience, also not so good. “On the first walk-through I did, we unlocked the door and a bunch of pigeons flew at us.”
The two-story building is 11,000 square feet, including an addition to the south that Community Planning and Economic Development senior planner Erik Hansen said was built “sometime between 1929 and 1950.”
Restoration included preserving the original brown brick exterior and updating it. A two story glass atrium on the Emerson side of the building is EMERGE’s main entrance; builders created a new brick entry for the coffee shop. There are three drive up lanes, with canopy, for the credit union on the south end of the building.
Ackerberg said that they kept the original glass windows in the back of the building but redid the openings in the front because there had been so many small businesses in the building through the years that it had gotten all chopped up. The original building had skylights, which they kept.
“There is wonderful interior lighting,” he said. “Some of the original interior brick in EMERGE’s space is still exposed, so you can see what it used to look like. Where we could, we preserved the old wood floors, as well.”
Welsh Companies was the general contractor for the work; the building architect was BKV Group (the contacts were Bill Baxley and Ted Redmond) of downtown Minneapolis. Olson said the credit union used HTG Architects of Eden Prairie for their build-out. Local artist Christopher Harrison’s brightly colored paintings hang inside and outside the building.
Olson said he is very familiar with the North Side. “I was born and raised two blocks away from here.” The site is City-County Federal Credit Union’s ninth Twin Cities location. Its first floor, 4,500 square foot space is decorated with photos of West Broadway from the Minnesota History Center. The credit union has nine employees and employs a uniformed Minneapolis Police Department off-duty officer as a security guard.
“We are the credit union for the City of Minneapolis,” Olson said. “There are always police officers, fire fighters and people from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office coming in here.”
EMERGE, which has 30 employees, occupies the second floor and operates PUC’s housing and employment programs, including job skills training and transitional housing. Mike Wynne is EMERGE’s executive director. One of its most visible programs is Steetwerks Enterprise; a neighborhood beautification project that employs more than 100 adults and youth (wearing bright yellow tee-shirts). Administrative manager Debra Chavis said that most of EMERGE’s staff live in North Minneapolis.
For Bean Scene 2, Rose said he formed a partnership with Ackerberg; the new coffee shop will be a satellite of Bean Scene 1 at Penn and West Broadway avenues N. They will have between four and eight employees and will be hiring new staff, he added. They expect to be open by Sept. 1.
“We’ll have the same drink menu and we’ll serve lunch. The salad, soup and sandwich preparation will be done at Bean Scene 1. We’ll be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and have Wi-Fi availability,” Rose said.
The new coffee shop will seat 22 people inside, and eight outside. “We’re working on getting 15-minute parking places on Emerson [Avenue N.]. It will be a comfortable space. We wanted to integrate the old and new, to match the building. We kept the old terrazzo floors but have incorporated the conveniences of modern technology.”
Ackerberg said that the development group’s goal is to restore real estate and find tenants that support the community. “We needed a credit union here desperately. EMERGE serves people in the community. We’re trying to create a business district here. This street is geared toward people driving past without stopping. We want to give them a reason to stop.”
For information on 1101 West Broadway, call The Ackerberg Group, 612-924-6400 (www.ackerberg.com). The City-County Federal Credit Union’s number is 763-549-6702 (www.ccfcu.org). EMERGE’s number is 612-529-9267 (emerge-mn.org).