2008 Minnesota Preservation Awards

2008 Minnesota Preservation Awards

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Minnesotans have celebrated our state’s Sesquicentennial throughout 2008. A renewed focus on our heritage—Minnesota’s unique and collective stories—has raised greater awareness for the value of our communities’ historic resources. This year’s Minnesota Preservation Awards are an opportunity to celebrate those individuals, corporations, and groups that have chosen preservation as a sustainable reinvestment in their community and our state.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota will mark our state’s 150th anniversary by honoring 2008’s best preservation projects at the Minnesota Preservation Awards. Now in its 24th year, the Alliance’s annual awards program recognizes outstanding projects, groups and individuals that contribute to the Minnesota’s preservation accomplishments. Awards are presented not on the basis of size or investment, but rather on the merit they provide to their community. Hundreds of projects across the state have received recognition through the awards program in the categories of adaptive reuse, addition / expansion, advocacy, archaeology, career achievement, community effort, restoration / rehabilitation, and stewardship.

A total of 33 nominations were received this year representing everything from small, community-led projects to large-scale, high-profile rehabilitation efforts. The Alliance assembled a distinguished panel of jurors for the difficult task of choosing the award winners. The jury, led by Honorary Chair Amy Douma, Associate Vice President at Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson and a Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal’s 2008 “40 Under Forty,” included professionals in architecture, archaeology, history, and historic preservation. This skilled group was able to narrow the list to the exceptional projects you see in this program.

One particular award nominee demonstrated not only excellence in preservation, but the recognition that the greenest building is the one already built. This project restored existing historic building elements while integrated new, energy-saving infrastructure. In this project’s honor, the Alliance presents its first-ever Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is the statewide, private, nonprofit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. The Alliance was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1981 by Minnesota citizens concerned about the future of the state’s architectural and cultural landmarks. Our organization has grown into a network representing thousands of voices across the state. Beyond our membership, we collaborate and partner with other organizations and agencies from the national to the local level.

We congratulate the following 2008 Minnesota Preservation Award winners and commend their work in preserving the historic assets that make our communities unique. Additionally, the Alliance would like to thank the following project participants for sponsoring this program in celebration of their awards:

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Ben Pomeroy Student / Alumni Learning Center
St. Paul

Adaptive Reuse Award — The old barn at the U of M St. Paul campus is a wonderful example of adaptive reuse as the building now bustles as a center for student activity. The exterior has been carefully restored and interior spaces have been crafted for food service, dining, and office use. The upper storage level was creatively converted to classrooms and a large seminar room. Roofing and structural braces have remained exposed providing historic grace notes to the new finishes and technology inserted into this space. In addition, the adjacent silo was retained for mechanical equipment which further retains the historic agricultural feel of the building while at the same time providing up to date building systems.

Owner: University of Minnesota; Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, Inc.; Landscape Architects: Damon Farber Associates; General Contractor: McGough Companies; Structural Engineer: MBJ Consulting Structural Engineers; Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: LKPB Engineers; Civil Engineer: Kimley-Horn and Associates; Telecommunications Consultants: Elert & Associates; Acoustical Engineer: Wm. H.O. Kroll and Associates.

W Minneapolis – The Foshay

Adaptive Reuse Award/Charles Nelson Award for Excellence — Rising against the Minneapolis skyline, the Foshay Tower was the first skyscraper in Minnesota when it opened in 1929, and it retained that title until the 1970s. Although it was an office building, the Foshay quickly became a tourist destination and the observation deck hosted everything from school children to marriage proposals. The building’s unique design and small footprint did not suit modern office needs and by the end of the twentieth century, occupancy rate was below 50 percent. Alterations to the Foshay’s Art Deco interior had also diminished its original glory. In 2006, a new ownership group headed by Ralph Burnet partnered with Ryan Companies US and ESG Architects to transform the Foshay into a 229-room luxury W Hotel, which opened in August 2008. Working with Hess, Roise and Company (historical consultants) and US Bank Community Development Corporation, the owners used federal historic tax credits to aid in the adaptive reuse of the building. The original plaster ceiling in the public arcade was restored and contemporary design was cleverly juxtaposed with the historic building fabric. With three restaurant/bars, a professionally curated museum, and a re-opened observation deck, this landmark is now more accessible to the public than ever before. As the W Minneapolis – The Foshay, the building will continue to create special memories for local residents and visitors alike.

Owner: Starwood Hotels and Resorts; Developer: Ralph Burnet and Ryan Companies US, Inc.; Architect: Elness Swenson Graham Architects; Interior Designers: Munge/Leung; Historical Consultant: Hess, Roise and Company, Inc.; Structural Engineers: MBJ Consulting Structural Engineers; Lighting Designer: Schuler Shook; Plaster Restoration: Minuti-Ogle Company; Paint Restoration: Evergreene Painting Studios; Financier: US Bank Community Development Corporation.

Marzario Warehouse/ Monte’s Steakhouse

Adaptive Reuse Award — This well deserving Adaptive Reuse Award goes to Marzario Warehouse/Monte’s Steakhouse for a thorough top to bottom reuse of a cold storage warehouse that was converted into a multi-floor restaurant operation. Beginning with significant masonry repair and uncovering bricked-over window openings, the building was completely updated for modern use with new systems, new restrooms, and open stair wells. The spaciousness of the old warehouse allowed for large open areas for dining, bars, and a banquet hall. Research had to be completed on historic roofing materials to seek a variance for the corrugated metal roofing used on the back deck and at the main building entrance, as the local ordinance specifically forbade the use of this material. Oak joists (2×12) that were part of a the original raised basement floor were recycled on site into wood paneling in the restaurant area, a creative wine rack, and into a bar, emphasizing the wide dimensions of this beautiful wood. Monte’s Steakhouse is now open for business in Faribault.

Owner: Frank Marzario; Architect: SMSQ Architects; General Contractor: Pro Con Inc.; Structural Engineer: MBJ Consulting Structural Engineers; Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Dolejs Associates.

St. Anthony Falls Office Building

Adaptive Reuse Award / Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design — In 1904, John Sargent Pillsbury, former governor, philanthropist, and art collector, gifted a new library to Northeast Minneapolis. The building is significant as the first example of the Beaux-Arts style in the City. Following the closing of the library in 1967, the building has served as housing for a variety of community services, a diagnostic laboratory, and an art gallery. In 2007, the Phillips family purchased the languishing library and restored it to its former stateliness. The building now houses the family’s offices. The building’s restoration is excellent on many traditional levels: reinstalling the original stained glass skylights, constructing an ADA-accessible entrance in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, restoring the exterior to its original historic appearance. The Phillips family and Domain Architecture & Design also strove to produce an environmentally green building with energy efficient systems and minimal environmental impact, while maintaining the historical character of the structure and enhancing the beneficial environmental aspects of the site. This project is currently undergoing submission for review and certification under LEED-NC v2.2, and is fully expected to achieve a Gold rating. For its successful incorporation of historic preservation and environmental impact considerations, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is pleased to present the first ever Minnesota Preservation Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design to the St. Anthony Falls Office Building.

Owner: The Phillips Family; Architect: Domain Architecture & Design; Interior Designer: Gunkelman Flesher; General Contractor: Ryan Companies US, Inc; Historical Consultant: Landscape Research; Structural Engineer: Mattson McDonald Young; Mechanical Engineer: Yale Mechanical; Lighting Design: Schuler Shook; Electrical: Fraser-Morris Electric Company; Plumbing: Horwitz Plumbing; Masonry: Advanced Masonry Restoration; Stained Glass: Gaytee Stained Glass; Windows: United Glass & Glazing; Painting: Swanson & Youngdale.

Grace University Lutheran Church

Addition/Expansion Award — Built between 1915 and 1917, Grace University Lutheran Church is a refined example of the Late English Gothic Revival style, with ornamentation influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement. Designed by the Minneapolis architectural firm of Chapman and Magney, the church is surrounded by the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, and serving students is central to its mission. By the 1990s, the congregation had outgrown the original structure, and the church engaged architectural firm Miller Dunwiddie to study strategies for increasing space. Construction of an addition began in 2004 following acquisition of needed expansion property. The project includes renovation of the existing nursery and community hall; upgrading the HVAC systems; new office, kitchen, and classroom space; and a new accessible entry, ramp, and elevator connecting all levels of the building. The Alliance jury noted that the addition closely adheres to the character of the historic church. The materials reflect the original palette of red shingles, brick, and sandstone. Brick buttress-like elements and stone caps reference details of the original façade, and fenestration patterns draw from the window spacing established in the nave. The result is a sensitive addition that complements the original historic structure.

Owner: Grace University Lutheran Church; Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, Inc.; General Contractor: Morcon Construction; Structural Engineer: MBJ Consulting Structural Engineers; Mechanical and Electrical Engineers: Cain-Ouse Associates.

Depot Preservation Alliance,

Advocacy Award — Eleven years ago, a small group of people met to discuss the fate of the Baudette Depot, abandoned by the Canadian National Railway in the mid 1980s. They affirmed the need to save this important landmark in their community, and set a goal to restore the dilapidated structure to its original appearance and to make it a viable resource for the community. Since that initial meeting, the Depot Preservation Alliance (DPA) was formed, the building was purchased from the railroad for one dollar, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Depot building has been stabilized and in 2006 with money from the Small Cities Development Grant Program for Rental Rehabilitation, rehabilitation of the second floor was completed. In 2007, the DPA received a grant from the Minnesota Transportation History Network Grants Program to develop the Depot’s interior space, which will include an artisans’ marketplace, a historic transportation exhibit area, and business rental spaces. The Depot Preservation Alliance exemplifies historic preservation advocacy: foresight to preserve a fragile resource, dedication for creating a long-lasting preservation group, and follow through in obtaining funds to properly restore a valued historic resource.

Greater Litchfield Opera House Association

Advocacy Award — The Litchfield Opera House, once the center of cultural activity, had fallen upon hard times and was facing certain demolition. In fact, the Litchfield City Council voted to demolition the building on three separate occasions. But a small group of concerned citizens challenged the wisdom of demolition engaging in a multi-year preservation battle. The turning point was a 2007 Reuse Study, led by architect Richard Engan, which recommended that reuse was indeed possible and preferred by the community. A grassroots group called the Greater Litchfield Opera House Association (GLOHA) was formed and in a final effort to save the building, GLOHA offered to purchase the historic Opera House. The City, acknowledging the group’s effort, abandoned the demolition plan and transferred the property to the organization on January 3, 2008. GLOHA purchased the building for the handsome price of one single 1900 silver dollar (1900 happens to be the year the opera house was built). Since that time GLOHA has coordinated and logged over 3,000 hours of volunteer time rehabilitating the building. Just four months in to their rehabilitation, the building was opened to the public and hosted its first concert six months later. Litchfield residents can now attend monthly events as the restoration continues. GLOHA has raised community awareness of both the significance and possibilities for historic properties in Litchfield launching a new source of pride in the community.

Downtown Streetscaping Redevelopment Project

Community Effort Award — Waseca’s downtown suffered the fate of many of Minnesota’s small towns: exterior alterations that over a century changed the character of Main Street compounded by the general decline of business activity and tax base. The City Council realized the key to successfully revitalizing the downtown economy was to secure capital for building rehabilitation and infrastructure improvements. First, the City created the Central Tax Increment Finance District (TIF 23), which encompassed much of the downtown and surrounding industrial areas. The City then applied for and received a Small Cities Development Grant in 2002, which was primarily used for commercial rehabilitation and apartment building modernization. In addition, the City provided Revolving Loan Funds to property owners on a 10-year term. As the redeveloped downtown started realizing increased revenue from the improvements, the Tax Increment Funds were used to fund streetscape improvements including new walks with paver inlays, bollards and limestone gateway monuments. The result has been a renewed interest in the downtown by citizens and businesses. The Alliance commends the City of Waseca for its creative vision and carefully planned approach to realizing downtown revitalization.

Owner: City of Waseca; Building Renovation: ALM Builders, I & S Engineers and Architects; Streetscape: Bolton & Menk, Inc., Pember Companies, Inc.; Financier: City of Waseca and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Small Cities Development Grant.

Friends of St. John’s

Community Effort Award — St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bradford, located in Bradford Township, was constructed in 1882 by Isanti County’s German Lutheran immigrants. This simple, one-room structure held services until 1956 when declining congregation membership forced its doors to close. It sat largely shuttered for the almost 50 years until a group of interested citizens rallied around this landmark. Recognition of the Church’s importance to the community’s heritage was recognized in 1980, when St. John’s was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In August of 2004, 150 individuals, businesses, and civic groups formed to rally support around restoring the Church. Ralph Sheppard, with his passion for this unassuming local landmark, led the Friends of St. John’s on a community fundraising campaign to complete the many needed projects including lead-based paint removal and repainting, roof replacement, repair of broken windows and original flooring, and restoring the pump organ. Through the stewardship of Ralph Sheppard and the Friends of St. John’s, St. John’s Lutheran Church of Bradford celebrated its 125th anniversary with a bright future ahead.

Owner: Isanti County; Financier: Minnesota State Grants-in-Aid Program: In-kind service providers: CAI Construction; Connexus Energy; Dennis Environmental; East Central Sanitation; Harlan Harris; John Engblom; Lumberland; plus hundreds of other donors.

1890 Fire Engine House

Restoration / Rehabilitation Award — The Arlington Historical Society was established in 1999 and its first priority was to restore the beloved Arlington Fire Engine Hall. Built in 1890, the structure suffered significant integrity loss over the years, including some drastic 1960’s remodeling. However, the Historical Society wasn’t deterred and pursued the restoration one project at a time thanks to some early postcards depicting the building’s original appearance. An architectural firm was hired to complete restoration drawings and the group also worked to restore the Fire Engine House’s tower, which came replete with a tin sculpture of a fireman capping the tower. Painstaking building restoration ensued and the work is now complete. The tower has been restored and a more durable tin fireman replica now watches over the community. With its original project now finished, members of the Arlington Historical Society are now evaluating new projects.

Owner: City of Arlington; Contractors: Travis Tuchtenhagen; CMC Construction; Haggenmiller Lumber; Les Jones Roofing; Brian F. Leo; In-kind donors: Mayor Jim Kreft; Marvin Windows and Doors; Financier: City of Arlington; Minnesota State Grants-in-Aid Program; individual donors.

Paradise Center for the Arts

Restoration/Rehabilitation Award — An historic theater in Faribault has recently been transformed into a comprehensive center for the arts. The Faribault Art Center, Merlin Players, and the Faribault Area Community Theater joined forces to undertake this project with significant support from the community. The facility now features performing arts space, gallery space, and support areas such as classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and offices. The theater was built in 1929 on the same site as the Faribault Opera House; it once had over 900 seats as an Arabian themed atmospheric theater. The renovation maintained the integrity of the main seating area while converting it to a smaller, more intimate 270 seat venue. Reducing the size of the seating area created space for a modern art gallery and practice spaces on the first floor, while the second floor now features cabaret-style seating for private groups. The renovation returned the main Central Avenue façade to its original appearance and its centerpiece is a luminous replica of the original marquee. Additionally, the original stenciling on the lobby ceilings was recreated, and the original paint scheme was used throughout the lobby and auditorium. The Alliance jury was impressed by both the building’s transformation and the project’s significant community support, making this project worthy of a Restoration/Rehabilitation Award.

Owner: The Paradise Center for the Arts; Design Team: I & S Group, LLC; General Contractor: Varley Construction; Major Contributors: McKnight Foundation; City of Faribault; State Bank of Faribault; Bahl Family Foundation; State of Minnesota; Carlander Family; Mardag Foundation; Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation; Major In-Kind Donors: Bauer Restoration; Sentence to Serve; Dick Feichtenger; Cedar Lake Electric; Varley Construction; I & S Group, LLC; Mayo Clinics; Ace Hardware; Restoration Services, Inc.

Warden’s House

Restoration/Rehabilitation Award — In 1914, the Minnesota Correctional Facility opened in Stillwater, effectively replacing Minnesota’s territorial prison. Designed by the famous Clarence Johnston Sr., the Warden’s House is located across from what was then the main gate of the prison. The last warden to live in the house left in 1971. From 1971 until 2004 the Warden’s House was used as office space for the prison. Decades of use had taken their toll and the building was in dire need of assistance. Plans for a conference center and prison museum fueled the restoration of the house. The interior was restored to accommodate the new uses and the exterior required substantial material replacement and additions. Rehabilitation of the house was a collaborative effort undertaken by the Physical Plant Building/Maintenance staff of the Stillwater Correctional Facility with assistance from minimum security offenders and several outside contractors. It is now in its final stage of rehabilitation and when completed this year will add a new chapter to Stillwater history.

Owner: State of Minnesota, Minnesota Correctional Facility – Stillwater; Architect: MacDonald & Mack Architects; Pre-Designer: Klein McCarthy & Company Architects; General Contractor: Parkos Construction Company; Engineer: Ericksen, Ellison & Associates, Inc.

Dan Borgert
St. Cloud

Stewardship Award — As CEO of BK Foley Land and Development, Inc., Dan Borgert has spearheaded recent preservation efforts in downtown St. Cloud. According to the City of St. Cloud Heritage Preservation Commission, Mr. Borgert’s successful historic rehabilitation efforts in the St. Cloud Commercial Historic District have been the most impressive revitalization effort of the past 30 years. Mr. Borgert has completed major restoration / rehabilitation projects for over ten historic buildings in the St. Cloud Commercial Historic District since 2005. $10 million has been invested to date and additional building acquisition and rehabilitation projects are underway. Most of the projects completed to date involve structures from between 1892 and 1929 that were in desperate need of storefront and interior improvements. Mr. Borgert is also commended for using the City of St. Cloud Downtown Preservation Design Manual, and for collaborating with city staff and the St. Cloud HPC. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is pleased to recognize Mr. Borgert’s impressive contributions to preservation and the City of St. Cloud with this Stewardship Award.

Weaver School,

Stewardship Award — The preservation of the historic Weaver School is a classic preservation story; one in which two people simply felt compelled to save a place after first sight. This one-room schoolhouse in Weaver, an unincorporated town in Winona County, was built in 1910 and had been converted into a single-family home some years before. Winona County Historical Society executive director Mark Peterson heard about the then vacant School and went to take a look. His wife Kathie was equally as excited about the schoolhouse when they went back to look the next day. After purchasing the schoolhouse, they immediately went about repairing the remaining original details and reconstructing those missing. They removed the suspended ceiling, interior partitions, and Celotex siding that had been added. The original classroom coat cabinets were repaired and refinished along with the original flooring. The cedar siding was scraped and painted and the bell tower support structure and railings rebuilt. The Petersons currently use the School as a getaway “cottage” and weaving studio (appropriately located in Weaver). They hope to list the property in the National Register of Historic Places when they complete the project. When asked why they undertook the project, Mark remarked, “What can I say, it’s what happens when a history guy has a midlife crisis.” The Alliance acknowledges the Petersons’ stewardship of the Weaver School and Winona County’s heritage.

Owners: Mark and Kathie Peterson

John Meyer, MBJ Consulting Structural Engineers

Career Achievement Award — For over 50 years, John Meyer has been a structural engineer and in the course of his work, he contributed to many of Minnesota’s most recognized historic preservation success stories, including Landmark Center, Minneapolis City Hall, Fort Snelling, the State Capitol, the Grain Belt Brewery, and the Cathedral of St. Paul. Engineers often work in the background on such projects, reinforcing walls or roofs, adding new structural elements to meet updated requirements and codes. This can be invasive work and the thoughtful insertion of new structure in addition to working with, rather than against, existing structure is part of the approach that John is known for. Additionally, his knowledge of historic structural systems makes him a magnet for architects seeking to fully understand the historic structures they are working on. Despite a fulfilling and long career, John is still a licensed, practicing structural engineer who goes into the office five days a week and some Saturdays. John is an inspiration not only to the staff at MBJ, the company he founded 53 years ago, but to preservationists across Minnesota who fully appreciate the achievements he orchestrated while preserving Minnesota’s historic properties. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is honored to present John Meyer with a Career Achievement Award.