Credit: Kraus-Anderson, photo courtesy of ESG Architects

Credit: Kraus-Anderson, photo courtesy of ESG Architects

Developer plans ‘brewtel,’ headquarters in Elliot Park

Updated: August 24, 2015 - 3:11 pm

If a “brewtel” was going to be built anywhere, it was Minneapolis.

Kraus-Anderson is planning a four-building development complex that would bring a boutique hotel, a Finnegans brewery building, an approximately 300-employee corporate headquarters for the developer and a market-rate apartment building to Elliot Park near downtown Minneapolis. The development is located on the block between Portland and 5th avenues between 8th and 9th streets, which currently houses a Kraus-Anderson office building. 

Burt Coffin, a vice president and designer with ESG Architects, outlined the developer’s plans at a neighborhood meeting Thursday. The downtown Minneapolis-based developer is planning a 7-story boutique hotel with approximately 148 rooms and a restaurant and bar concept from an unnamed restaurateur, along with a 3-story Finnegans microbrewery, event center and social innovation center. 

Between the two buildings, an outdoor atrium could host seating and events year-round. The developer has not finalized a third party to manage the hotel.

The Minneapolis-based nonprofit brewer, which donates 100 percent of its profits to charity through its community fund, would help social entrepreneurs with a co-working “incubator” office space, dubbed the “Finnovation Lab,” on the building’s third floor.

“The next chapter on how we want to grow our brand and our mission is to help others who want to run businesses and have a social mission,” Finnegans CEO Jacquie Berglund told Elliot Park residents.

The project also includes a 17-story residential building with about 300 units, which is the same height of Shamrock Development’s Portland Tower being constructed nearby. The two residential projects, in addition to the Skyscape condos constructed in 2008 and the Grant Park luxury condo tower and townhomes completed in 2004, are each steps into building the Portland Residential Corridor, a link between the downtown neighborhood and the Mississippi River through transformative residential development. 

Kraus-Anderson would bring a highly landscaped pedestrian experience and townhome-style units with porches fronting Portland Avenue. The building would have brick masonry up to breaks in the building at five or eight stories. 

On the northwest corner of the site, Kraus-Anderson is planning a five-story headquarters with about 80,000 square feet of office space. Preliminary concepts show a deck on the building’s top floor. 

Users of all four buildings would utilize two levels of underground parking each with approximately 260 parking stalls, Coffin said. In the middle of the complex, a shared multi-purpose court similar to a woonerf would serve as a drop-off and pedestrian park space.

The developer expects construction could begin in the first quarter of 2016 with an opening 16-24 months later. The four buildings would be constructed all at once. 

“We think the project that we’re proposing is a legacy project and will be a transformative project for the neighborhood,” Coffin said. 

The project received preliminary approval at an Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc. Building, Land Use & Housing Committee Aug. 20. The developer has met with the task group several times following the group’s skepticism when Kraus-Anderson put forth an initial proposal last fall. 

The developer has been trying to build a new headquarters in the neighborhood since its original plans surfaced last spring, when it was planning a four-story headquarters building on the site. It then returned last fall with a similar development plan.

Kraus-Anderson plans from last fall. File photo.


Kraus-Anderson is more confident this time around that this plan will go forward in partner with residents.

“We’ve had a great opportunity with the task force, getting good feedback,” said John Campobasso, Kraus-Anderson vice president and director of marketing. “We’re excited about working and putting this thing together.”

Kraus-Anderson has been headquartered in downtown Minneapolis since its founding in 1897. New plans would more than double its downtown workforce at 525 S. 8th St. by consolidating its Circles Pines and Bloomington offices.

Elliot Park residents and EPNI originally blocked the headquarters expansion, saying they wanted a high-density development that meshed with the surrounding neighborhood’s residential buildings.

Jerry Drustad, chair of the neighborhood group’s planning committee, criticized the original plans last year for their “suburban feel,” The Journal reported. He had a better reaction to the new plans.

“I’m really excited about what we’ve seen so far,” he said.