The last piece of an extremely lengthy and complex development puzzle in northeast Minneapolis is now in place.

This week, city officials and developers celebrated the opening of an apartment building at the last city-owned site in the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex in northeast Minneapolis.

The modern history of the castle-like Romanesque Revival complex at the corner of 13th Avenue and Marshall Street dates back to 1977 when the city gave it landmark status and put the brakes on demolition of the brewing complex, which was built between 1891 and 1910. In the late 1980s, the city acquired the property and, in 1990, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Since then, the city has worked diligently with local developers and the State Office of Historic Preservation to fund rehabilitation. After years of work, it now includes architectural offices, Park Board facilities, a public library branch, a union office and artist studios.

The Grain Belt Office Building, which is at 1215 NE. Marshall St., was the last undeveloped portion of the site and a critical element of the complex, which was developed after the consolidation of four smaller breweries. According to the National Register nomination, the facility was annually producing more than 500,000 barrels of beer by 1900.

After passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919, the Minneapolis Brewing Co. curtailed its brewing activities and instead focused on producing “near beer” and soft drinks. After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the company resumed brewing beer. In 1975, the facility closed when brewing operations were moved to St. Louis.

This last phase of the multiyear project includes 150 luxury rental apartments in two four-story apartment buildings that were developed by Everwood Corp. To date, 120 of the 150 apartments have been leased.

A celebration on Thursday was led by Everwood co-founder and principal David Dye and Third Ward Council Member Jacob Frey.

If you visit the project, you’ll be able to see the archaeological remnants of what was the city’s first brewery: the Orth Brewery, whose remains have been capped and protected by a public plaza at the corner of Marshall Street and 13th Avenue NE.

For more information on the Grain Belt Apartments, go to www.thegrainbeltmpls.com.

Jim Buchta