If Northrup King Buildings’ walls could talk

The undeveloped buildings in the Northrup King complex, 1500 Jackson St. NE, each present interesting challenges or opportunities. Northeast Minneapolis Arts District board members got a sneak peek tour May 24. Artspace is committed to maintaining the existing artist studio space in current configuration. Planning around redevelopment of vacant buildings is actively underway.

A six-story building sits at the end of the in-use dock level next to the building we now think of as Northrup King Building. It incorporates processing equipment too heavy and historic to move, and will have to be worked around.

Both the six-story building and a two-level building are slated for housing, a pretty straightforward conversion in the lexicon of adaptive re-use, and includes a one-level area lined with brick and a perfectly preserved timber ceiling. This area will likely become somewhat of a public art space.

Artspace has plans for “Stormwater Street” between the studios and the two level housing. It’ll be key to managing rainwater that now puddles on forgotten pavement, a new outdoor space for art, history and play, for tenants and community. Initial funding commitments have been obtained from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, City of Minneapolis, and State of Minnesota to help move the project forward.

Then there’s Building #10 with 37,500 square feet per floor; a dry basement, ground level and second story. It needs a new roof and enhanced electrical, and Artspace is exploring opportunities for large format arts production and creative industry space.

At the south end of Building #10 is what may be the oldest building in the complex. And to the north, a shed with doors on all four sides that cannot be practically permanently heated or cooled, which might simply serve as an outdoor market or performance venue.

Artspace has arranged to lease some railroad property to accommodate parking. Site improvements and the housing conversion will get underway in fall 2022. Watch the Northeaster and NortheastMinneapolisArtsDistrict.org for updated timelines as they become available.

By Margo Ashmore