The former Walker Library in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood, which was recently slated to become a restaurant, is now going to be an events center called the Mansion at Uptown, the building’s owner said Tuesday.
Swervo Development, a real estate firm led by Ned Abdul, said it is partnering with Uptown Hospitality on the renovation of the project with a target of opening by midsummer.
Uptown Hospitality is led by Steve Hark of Entourage Events Group, which operates the FineLine Music Cafe, Minneapolis Event Centers and Aqua Nightclub and Lounge.
The Mansion, located at 2901 Hennepin Av., will be a full-service event center that can host private corporate events, weddings, parties and black-tie events, Hark said. A patio will be added. And when there is not a private event, the 4,500-square-foot space will run as a bar and lounge with a limited food menu.
“An event center and lounge concept with an outdoor patio is a departure from the typical bar concept,” said Abdul, in a statement. “The building’s block wall construction and distance from residential buildings will help ensure good synergy between business and residents.”
Hark wanted to have the dual function so the building could sustain an income while it books out events. Already his team at the Minneapolis Event Centers, which will market the property, has given about 50 tours to potential corporate and wedding clients.
“We already have contracts for weddings and the space isn’t event built out yet,” Hark said. “We’ve seen a lot of young professionals who … want to get married in Uptown, but their only option has been the Calhoun Beach Club.”
The Mansion at Uptown will be run by Hark and business partners Wendy Schallock, John Nathanson and Sheila Cachuela.
Walker Library is a century-old, neoclassical building that contrasts with contemporary buildings around it. The library was named for lumber magnate Thomas Barlow Walker, founder of the Walker Art Center.
Since the library moved across the street in the 1980s, the building has been used for offices, restaurants, a clothing store and, most recently, a yoga studio and gym.
Abdul’s Swervo Development is the midst of an overhaul of the Minneapolis Armory, which is downtown near U.S. Bank Stadium, into a large-scale events center.