North Loop Loft Renovations: Then and Now

5 Historic Minneapolis Warehouse Renovations

Crowd of people in warehouse district

Minneapolis has gone through somewhat of a renaissance over the past decade or so. Industrial buildings and warehouses that the city was built on have been renovated and converted into amazing urban dwellings. Here’s a list of my Top 5 historic renovations in the North Loop neighborhood. 

700 Washington Avenue N

One of the tallest structures in the Warehouse District, the name Tower Lofts comes from the prominent tower rising above the 6th floor roof. Before becoming the Tower Lofts this building was one of the largest artist’s coops in the Warehouse District, better known as the Studios @ 700.  The first residential occupancy was actually in 1982.

Then

Tower Lofts Yesterday
Gamble-Skogmo Building, Flour City Brush Company Building, Northern Bag Company Building, Studios @ 700

Built: 1920

Architect: Hewitt & Brown

Style: Medieval Revival

Now

Tower Lofts Live Work

Tower Lofts

Renovated: 2004

Architect: Elness Swenson Graham Architects

Style: Warehouse Loft, Live/Work, Open Floor Plan, Concrete Floors, 13 ft Cielings

525 3rd Street North

The Bookmen Lofts is one of the few historic renovations in the North Loop where the architect was able to build the addition of a 6th floor bump out/private rooftop deck for the top floor penthouse units.

Then

Bookmen Yesterday

Bookmen Printing Building, IWS Warehouse, Slocum Bergen Building, Red and White Food Stores Warehouse

Built: 1914

Architect: Long, Lamoreaux & Long

Style: Commercial

Now

Bookmen Lofts Penthouse

Bookmen Lofts

Renovated: 2004

Architect: James Dayton Design, Ltd.

Style: Warehouse Loft, Brick Walls, Concrete Floors

801 Washington Avenue N

801 Washington was originally home to a farm implement factory, a Studebaker Packard showroom and Shafer Refrigeration. The most recent tenant prior to the loft renovation was an Antiques dealer, Architectural Antiques.

Then

801 Washington

Pence Auto Co.

Built: 1914

Architect: John Wunder Co.

Style: Classical Revival

Now

801 Washington Today
801 Washington Ave Lofts

Renovated: 2003

Architect: Meyer Scherer Rockcastle Architects

Style: Warehouse Loft, Brick Walls, Wood Floors, Exposed Timber, Single and  Multi-Level 

748 3rd Ave N 

The City of Minneapolis apparently approved a plan to add two story penthouses atop the Hershel building which would have increased the height from 6 floors to 8 floors, but this never came together.

Then

Herschel mfg
Herschel Roth Manufacturing Co..

Built: 1915

Architect: Walter H. Wheeler.

Style: Commercial

Now

Herschel Lofts Minneapolis
Herschel Lofts

Renovated: 2006

Architect: Tanek Inc.

Style: Warehouse Loft, Brick Walls, Hardwood Floors

716 1st St. N.

In the early 1980’s the Itasca Lofts became the first warehouse conversion from industrial use to business and residential lofts in Minneapolis. 

Then

Warehouse district 2
Itasca Warehouse

Built: 1886

Architect: Long & Kees

Style: Richardsonian Romanesque

Now

The Itasca
The Itasca

Renovated: 1981

Architect: Edwins & Halden

Style: Warehouse Loft, Timber Loft, Brick Walls

via Mike Seebinger @ south-of-canada

More historic North Loop photos @ “A Look Back at the North Loop: Photo Montage

Minneapolis Loft Stlyes

For many Minnesotans, moving downtown into an urban dwelling is about the lifestyle, general excitement and cultural opportunities of city living.  It often means a shorter commute to work or in some cases quite the opposite with the concept of an urban cabin.  The term ‘Loft’ is easier understood broken up into four loose categories.  There are various spin offs of the loft concept but in downtown Minneapolis there are basically 4 different styles of Lofts.

Warehouse Lofts “Hard Lofts”

A majority of the warehouse lofts in Minneapolis are located in and around downtown areas that were once industrial districts such as the North Loop. Former manufacturing plants retain their industrial flare, with freight elevators, concrete floors, exposed brick walls, timber beams and high ceilings. Loft buyers will enjoy the historical touches of these ”New York inspired” dwellings which often have open floor plans and few walls to separate living spaces.  In Minneapolis some example of  warehouse lofts in the North Loop would be the Security Lofts, Itasca Building, Bookman Lofts, 918 Lofts, and SOHO Lofts on Washington Ave N. 

New Construction Residential Lofts

If you like the loft feel but would prefer new construction there have been several condo developements downtown Minneapolis built to emulate the warehouse feel with elements like exposed duct-work and concrete floors. While not the authentic warehouse, new construction residential lofts are spaces designed in the warehouse-loft style but with post tension concrete, glass and steal. Like warehouse lofts, they often contain floor-to-ceiling windows, often times with non conforming walls and open floor plans but lack the industrial details of a historic structure.  Examples of new construction residential lofts in Minneapolis are the 710 Lofts, 720, Lofts, 730 Lofts, Bookman Stacks,  and Village Lofts.

Soft Lofts

The demand for loft style spaces but with more of a traditional layout has resulted in what is called a soft loft, or hybrid of what is known as more of a traditional feeling space with loft-style floor plans. These “softer” lofts may include room-like divisions more familiar to someone coming from a single family home but have the high ceilings and often times exposed concrete pillars.  Condo developements such as the 5th Ave Lofts, Bridgewater and Lyndsay Lofts are great examples of the the soft loft.

Live-Work Lofts

Live-Work Lofts are not as common downtown Minneapolis but a popular concept. Designed to house a home owner and his or her business, this style loft allows an  artist, manufacturer or other business owner to save moneyby living and working at the same address.  There will be some limitations to what you can use the space for in respects to retail i.e. restaurants ect. The majority of options in Minneapolis for Live-Work Lofts include the Madison Lofts, 801 Washington, CW Lofts and Tower Lofts. 

Not everyone agrees on what exactly a loft is.  The wide spectrum of loft styles in Minneapolis gives prospective buyers plenty of options tailored to personal taste. 

For a  Free Comprehensive List of Minneapolis Lofts please fill out my Condo and Loft Tour Form and I will email you your options broken down into the various categories.

Art Gallery Opening, 801 Washington October 16th, 6-9pm

Location: 801 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis MN 55401

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Check out the new gallery at 801 Washignton. 

Artist Websites

Regan Golden: www.drawnlots.com/regan

Sean Smuda: www.seansmuda.com

Val Frank: www.ValFrank.com

Chris t Halverson: www.thealiceproject.home.mindspring.com/

Another great way to stay on top of local art openings is to check out MplsArt.com