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A challenging project
The brewery, which first went up in 1855, was bought and expanded in the early 1900s by Bavarian brewer Jacob Schmidt, who added the crenelated towers and Gothic touches. His business partners, Adolph and Otto Bremer, made Schmidt one of the best known beers in the country.
Minnesota Brewing Co. bought the brewery in 1991 and produced the Landmark and Pig’s Eye brands, adding an ethanol plant in 2000 to bolster the bottom line. It halted brewing in 2002 and two years later closed the ethanol plant, controversial for its smelly emissions.
The brewery sat empty until Dominium bought it. Converting it into housing, Metz said, was endlessly complicated.
“There was a plethora of unforeseens,” he said. “We had 50 to 60 tanks fully intact, a ton of piping left in place, lead-based paint and not all the floor plates aligned. A portion of the 1880 limestone portion collapsed, so we had to rebuild …
“It’s a little like an oil refinery with a building built around it.”
Dominium spent $125,000 on the replica sign, which had to win approval from state and city preservation offices to maintain the site’s historic fabric. Rebuilt by Lawrence Sign from the original blueprints, the sign last week was installed on the catwalk 100 feet above W. 7th Street.
“Saving the building in itself was a huge endeavor,” Metz said. “But the sign has been gone for so long, it really puts this on the map as the shining moment of the redevelopment. It’s giving more back to the community, not just the residents.”
Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035