A week ago, your blogger wrote here  about the historic Ford Building in Minneapolis – yes, Minneapolis.

The Ford Center, at 420 Fifth St. North, (otherwise known as adjacent to Target Field) has undergone an extensive, $40-million-plus renovation over the past year or so, and now HGA Architects and Engineers has moved in.

HGA takes up four floors of the 11-story brick structure, which was painstakingly renovated. The original Model T showroom, now part of the architectural and engineering firm’s space, was turned into a gallery for creative work and meetings. The firm retained the space’s original high ceilings, and restored original plaster column capitals and expansive windows.

A high-tech stretched-membrane ceiling simulates the original plaster surface, but controls acoustics. Reclaimed mahogany wood wraps several enclosed rooms, and a former elevator shaft, once used to move cars from floor-to-floor, was turned into a stairway connecting all four floors of office space.

Bloomington-based United Properties directed the overall renovation, which also includes space for the Minneapolis creative agency Olson, expected to move in early next year.

After my story ran, several people contacted me to say Ford also had a plant in St. Paul on University Avenue of  a similar vintage that is now vacant. This was confirmed by Brian McMahon, a local historian who is working on a book about Ford in Minnesota.

Of course, the Ford plant along the banks of the Mississippi River closed for good on Friday after 88 years of production.

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.


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