A new life for the a historic Loring Park building

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December 17, 2012 // UPDATED 3:26 pm - December 29, 2012
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

LORING PARK — The historic Loring Park building that formerly housed Northwestern National Life Insurance began its new life on Dec. 15, when its first tenants moved into their the brand new luxury apartments.

The four-story, 90,000 square-foot renovation project has transformed the former insurance headquarters — and later office building — into 72 one and two-bedroom apartment rental units. The two-year project was overseen by Kraus-Anderson, the same company (called J.L. Robinson back then) that built the massive limestone building in 1924.

Kraus-Anderson worked with historical consulting firm Hess Roise for over a year to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They were able to preserve most of its Beaux Arts limestone exterior, a five-panel mural in the lobby, which depicts various historical scenes from early Minneapolis, and its original 12-foot tall bay windows, which offer impressive views of Loring Park, the Minneapolis skyline, and the surrounding neighborhood.

“This building was a sign of [Northwestern National Life Insurance’s] coming of age,” said Charlene Roise, president of Hess Roise. She also noted its unique architectural design also qualified it for historic designation. 

The 430 Oak Grove building sits on a wedge-shaped lot, which resulted in its uncommon shape. “It kind of looks like a ship sailing at you as you stand in front of it,” said Roise.

That shape also contributed to the fact that there are 32 different floor plans used in the 72-unit building. “It’s one of a kind,” said Mike Engel, the architect in charge of the building’s new design. “It definitely was a different challenge to work with its original design and maintain the historical aspects of it … but every building has its own challenges and uniqueness to it.”

A bar/lounge area, yoga room, and fitness center are among the amenities offered, and a rooftop lounge is planned to be built soon. So far six units have been rented, and tours are available every day, Monday-Sunday. 

The opening of 430 Oak Grove is yet another in a long line of new apartment buildings that seem to be sprouting up all over Minneapolis. Across the street at 415 Oak Grove, the six-story, 119-unit Loring Vue apartment complex is set to open soon.