You can just imagine renovating your jewel of a property, then watching as an essential cadre of workers walks off the job without finishing. That's just what happened May 1 during reconstruction of the historic Pantages Theater at 7th and Hennepin, when Roofers Local 96 union went on strike.
"Of course we have roofs that need repair and we're halfway through the job, and all of a sudden there are no workers," said Jim White, senior MCDA project coordinator. "Not real keen in the rainy season."
It rained hard in Minneapolis on June 10, and several other days since May 1 have seen steady, drizzling rains. But as it turns out, having the roofers off the job didn't create many real problems beyond worry and frustration.
MCDA Pantages project manager George Kissinger said workers were able to divert rainwater to an area on the second floor of the adjoining Stimson Building, where it could be pumped out. The Stimson Building, which once shared lobby space with the Pantages, also is being renovated.
Project site foreman Don Bollinger said that the roofers' strike was "a little inconvenient," but the theater's roof was in place prior to the strike, which was settled June 11. Only the Stimson Building's interior was exposed during the strike, he said, and it only meant dodging a couple of puddles here and there. No damage was done.
Renovation of the long-closed, 1,000-seat Greek-style theater began in November with $9 million in city funding. It eventually is slated for use in live, off-Broadway theater productions, and it should be completed this fall.