A Milwaukee-based developer has purchased the historic Jackson building at the corner of 3rd Avenue North and Washington Avenue and plans to convert it into a hotel with approximately 120 rooms.
Tim Dixon, who owns the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee, among other projects, has been working on creating a new boutique hotel concept for the 5-story, 117-year-old building since closing on it in July.
“It’s the perfect space for a hotel,” said Dixon. “North Loop is an incredible neighborhood, Minneapolis is a great hotel market right now, it’s at a high-profile intersection, the building is beautiful – all the right parts came together on this project.”
He’s been staying in Minneapolis 3-4 nights a week, doing historical research and getting to know the neighborhood while brainstorming ideas for the hotel.
“It’s not going to be an another Iron Horse,” he said. “History will dictate what it’s called and how it feels. We’re getting to know the building’s history, the history and feel of the North Loop, and the city’s history, and I bet something will bubble up in the next 4-8 weeks.”
Right now there’s only one hotel – the TownePlace Suites at 525 2nd St. N – in the North Loop, which is home to numerous condos and apartments too small for hosting guests.
“There are plenty of people who live in the neighborhood who don’t have enough room for friends and family to stay for a while,” said North Loop Neighborhood Association President David Frank. “I think it makes sense that when you want to check out some restaurants, go to a Twins game, or check out any of our other popular attractions that you would want to stay nearby.”
A roughly 6,000-square-foot restaurant is planned for the ground floor. It will be run by Chicago-based chef Suzy Crofton, whose restaurant Crofton on Wells was awarded a Michelin star before closing in 2012.
“We’re creating a food and beverage venue for the locals,” said Dixon. “Usually guests come down to the hotel bar and ask the bartender where the locals go, but in this case the locals will be sitting right next to them.”
Dixon attended last night’s monthly NLNA meeting to introduce himself to the neighborhood and give an informal update on the project.
“Needless to say, everyone was very excited about his ideas for the project,” said Frank.
Some neighborhood residents thought work had already begun on the building because of the covered walkway installed outside of it, but that was put there to protect pedestrians from debris falling from the building’s crumbling façade.
Dixon said he plans to utilize state and federal historic tax credits to help finance the renovation. He hopes to gain city approval over the winter and break ground in the first quarter of next year. Construction expected to take 12-14 months.
There’s no room for parking on the site, so right now the tentative plan is to try to work out an agreement to use the city-owned A,B and C ramps or negotiate deals with owners of other surrounding parking lots. Restaurant parking will be 100 percent valet.
“The neighborhood doesn’t get very worked up when we have a new business that says ‘we’re not providing parking,’ or ‘we’re providing less than the code says.’ We’re fine with that, but this is a use that will obviously bring people in cars,” said Frank.
Frank also said this could be an opportune time to work with the city to make the dangerous 3rd and Washington intersection more pedestrian friendly.
Earlier this year 3rd and Washington was one of 10 intersections the NLNA Safety and Livability Committee identified as needing pedestrian improvements.