New park coming soon for Crown Center tenants

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March 14, 2014 // UPDATED 9:45 am - March 18, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
"The Shed" will connect many of the tenants of the Crown Center
submitted rendering
Ben Johnson
15,000 sq. feet of partially enclosed green space attracts new tenants to the former iron working factory

This summer Hillcrest Development is building a 15,000-square-foot shared green space for its tenants at the Crown Center in Northeast Minneapolis.

The space, called “The Shed,” will be open year-round with a number of trees and bushes soaking up sunlight streaming through long rows of large windows, creating a space similar to a greenhouse. A new stormwater collection system will also be installed to reduce runoff and help water the new plants.

Three roll-up garage doors at The Shed’s entrance off of Tyler Street will stay open when the weather is nice, and benches and tables will be scattered throughout for tenants to relax, eat lunch or hold meetings.

The construction of The Shed is part of the last phase of the Crown Center’s rehabilitation from a dilapidated, polluted former iron working factory into one of the largest commercial office complexes in Northeast.

“This is a very, very nice space and one I’m proud of, but if you look around there’s really no green space and we don’t do anything to retain stormwater,” said Scott Tankenoff, managing partner with Hillcrest. “Now this is going to be the coolest, best space we’ve ever had.”

Hillcrest has rehabbed a number of former industrial sites in Northeast, including the Frost Building across the street from the Crown Center. Tenants in the Frost Building will also have access to The Shed, however, it will not be open to the public.

An early rendering of Bauhaus Brew Labs

New tenants

A brewery/tap room named Bauhaus Brew Labs is in the middle of renovating a massive building in the Crown Center (it has nine buildings total) where airplane wings were built during World War II. According to Kurt Gough, an architect who worked with Bauhaus to design the brewery, it will be the second-largest tap room in Minneapolis behind Surly’s planned $20 million facility.

Tankenoff said Bauhaus is on track to open in the late spring or early summer. When it opens it will be the fourth brewery in a six-block area of Northeast.

“Honestly I’d be worried if I wasn’t opening up in this area,” said Jim Watkins, who co-owns Sociable Cider Werks four blocks away from Bauhaus. “I feel like we get a lot of people who come to this neighborhood to try all of the breweries, they make an afternoon out of it, it’s been awesome for business.”

Representatives from Bauhaus declined to comment.

Gough will soon move his firm, Shelter Architects, from its current location in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood to an 1,800-square-foot space overlooking The Shed.

“There was a ‘wow factor’ that really sealed the deal for us. I would use the word sublime, because when you walk through the door you really can’t quite wrap your mind around it,” said Gough. Tankenoff said Hillcrest created the space for Shelter Architects by enclosing an old elevated observation platform.

Hillcrest just began fixing up the last unclaimed building at the Crown Center. It features 38-foot high ceilings and many rustic wooden beams that will be cleaned up and showcased.

“Oh, we’ll have no problem renting this space,” said Tankenoff. “We’re going to wait to find a good, compatible fit.”

Tankenoff said he is not looking for a restaurant or retail because of parking concerns he has heard more and more frequently from neighborhood residents.

“Frankly, the biggest issue in this new brewery district is parking,” he said. “We’re making a concerted effort not to over-retail. Our clients expect free parking.”

Ben Johnson // 612-436-5088 // bjohnson@mnpubs.com // @johnsonbend