Event Center Development: Two New Renovations On the Way

Attractions Coming to Minneapolis and St Paul A new event center in what has been termed a "spectacular" old Saint Paul building is planned, with work slated to begin this summer, and another larger event center and restaurant are planned in what was once a Pillsbury machine shop near St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. Work has already begun and opening is expected in July.

Present Plans

Events have already been booked, according to Jessica Barrett, executive director of the new Historic Machine Shop Restaurant & Event Center. The project was granted a liquor license with the stipulation that the facility be open to the public at least once a month. Present plans call for the first floor restaurant to open every Monday, but hours could be expanded. No chef has yet been hired.

The function spaces will be on the second and third floors of the old building, according to the developer, who notes that the second-floor space will comfortably seat 300 people, but can accommodate as many as 380. The upper level is somewhat smaller, and is envisioned as cocktail or "pre-party" space.

The planned Saint Paul renovation involves the historic railroad building at 1217 Bandana Blvd, a 22,400 square-foot brick structure behind the Bandana Square office complex. Known as The Chimneys building, the new event center will retain existing exposed-brick interiors and structural timbers. The building was constructed in 1885 as the blacksmith shop for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1984, it became the Children's Museum, and was later the home of Summit Envirosolutions, owned by then building owner John Dustman. 

Costs and Inventory

Utah-based The Falls Event Center reportedly paid $1.75 million for the building; the firm is also said to be interested in acquiring other local properties to add to its portfolio. With an "open vendor" policy that allows users to pick their own caterers and event planners, The Falls currently operates 14 event centers, with a goal of opening 200 nationally in the next five years. 

The Chimneys building event space will be centered on the second floor, with first floor rooms available for smaller meetings and training sessions. Renovations are expected to be complete by winter.

The Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs have seen an upsurge in convention center development and new event spaces in recent years. The Chimneys in Saint Paul and The Historic Machine Shop Restaurant in Minneapolis are two of the smaller projects, but they are exciting nonetheless.

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