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Diversified Construction

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Alma

Alma Restaurant has been successfully operating in Minneapolis under the direction of Chef Alex Roberts since 1999. When the opportunity presented itself to Alex to purchase the 100 year old firehouse building that Alma was housed in, he jumped at the chance and got to work developing ideas for the rest of the space in the building. The space adjacent to the restaurant would be turned into a more casual café concept and the second floor of the building would be turned into a boutique hotel with 7 rooms total. The plans were set into motion and the next couple of years were dedicated to transforming the existing 3,000 square foot restaurant into a 12,690 square foot multi-concept building.

As part of the new concept, Alex was seeking to upgrade the current limited liquor license to a full license which required getting the buildings’ zoning changed. This is simple in theory, but Alex himself went door to door throughout the neighborhood to get signatures of approval to then present to the City. Ultimately, after many hours on foot and several presentations to the City, the license was approved.

Another challenge was that the 100 year old building has historical significance and thus requires working with Historic Preservation Commission while the architectural drawings are being put together. The HPC oversees and directs any exterior changes in order to ensure the historical architectural features remain prominent. The design teams worked closely together and after several meetings and design revisions, all were in agreement on the plans.

The construction was phased throughout the three spaces, but overall Diversified was working on some part of the building for 22 weeks. A somewhat unique element to the project was the great deal of planning and foresight went into allowing for Restaurant Alma to remain open and operational throughout many weeks of construction. This required special attention paid to scheduling noisy work for very specific times, controlling and barricading off access points and using many dust barricades.

Unique design elements include beautiful walnut and alder wood, brass accents, butcher blocks tops and bluing finishes. Existing brick was left exposed in many areas of the space as well as a structural steel lintel adding to the warm but minimal aesthetic. Upstairs in the hotel, each room has a unique layout and custom, locally made furniture. The largest unit even has a spectacular walkout rooftop patio overlooking the city.

Cooperation and communication between Diversified Construction, the project architect, designer and owner as well as all the subcontractors is the single most important element of any project. We were honored to be a part of the team that pulled this elegant project together successfully and safely.

Red Rabbit

Red Rabbit is the latest eatery from Luke Shimp, also creator of the wildly popular and similarly named, Red Cow. Red Rabbit offers casual Italian food in a warm, modern space. Once a speakeasy, brothel and even an auto shop, there was a lot of history dug up during the demolition phase. Prohibition era bottles were just one of the really neat things found. Soil conditions which were insufficient to build on and failing structural elements were a couple of the not so neat discoveries.

The late 1800’s building that Red Rabbit occupies in the North Loop is designated as a historical structure, therefore design and structural changes needed to be approved by the Historical Preservation Committee before moving forward. Keeping this in mind, failing structural elements were replaced and greater support systems to support the new design were added.  Structural engineers were on site throughout this phase to ensure compliance and safe conditions. Meanwhile, Diversified worked to bring the soil to strong enough levels in order begin the remodel of the space.

After correcting those challenges, the entire slab of the space had to be removed and re-poured due to its age and severe cracking. All new windows were installed and a 1,000 square foot addition was added to the 4,500 square foot building. Working downtown Minneapolis brings with it some of its own unique challenges. For one, the adjacent building was just inches away, so special consideration had to be paid to construction noise and vibrations. In order to serve the electrical needs of the space, Xcel Energy had to bring a new feeder down 2nd street, requiring shutting down a lane of Washington Avenue for approximately 2 weeks.

Inside, Luke wanted to leave some of the buildings’ historical charm intact so original brick was left uncovered in many areas of the space. Additionally, a coffered ceiling with false box beams and bead board finishes had to be replicated on the south end of the bar area in order to match the original exposed ceiling on the north side. Reusing original items was also important so as to be sustainable where possible. Additionally, 70% of construction waste from this project was able to be recycled. Patterned floor tiles, ample natural lighting, charred tongue and groove wall accents, red leather booths and an accent wall patterned with mismatched mirrors are some of the design elements contributing to the space’s warmth.

Hop over to Red Rabbit soon and let us know what you think!

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and your loved ones good cheer and happiness in the New Year!

Below, hear from some of Diversified’s employees about their memorable experiences in 2016 and their plans for celebrating the New Year!

What was your most memorable project experience in 2016?

Chuck: The project that confirmed my belief in ghosts!

Any favorite trips you took in 2016?

Kristi: I loved going camping with my boyfriend and our dog, Hank. Hank was able to come tubing down the river with us which was a lot of fun. We also went on a family vacation to Hawaii which was full of beautiful, coastal drives, waterfalls, great beaches and lots of shaved ice.

 

What are your New Years plans?

Dave: Our youngest daughter has been wanting to go to a Minnesota Wild game for the past several years.  This year, to her delight, Santa left tickets for the Wild game on New Year’s Eve.  So we will be spending our New Year’s Eve at the Minnesota Wild game vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets.  As it turns out, the game will be the first in NHL history between two teams with current winning streaks of 12 games or more.  I am thinking Santa wished he would have kept the tickets for himself!!  Happy New Year’s to all.

Cheryl: My husband is taking me out tonight to avoid the crowds so that will be fun! His old friend Willie Walker having a 75th birthday party music night at Crooners.

Jeremy: I’ll be on my horse with a cocktail in hand competing in a sorting jack pot!

jerm

Throwback Thursday – The Pence Automobile Company Building

800 Hennepin 027

Historical Name:  Pence Automobile Company Building

Common Name:  Minneapolis Gas and Light Company, Lincoln National Bank and the Carmichael Lynch Advertising Agency

Address: 800 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis

Date Built:  1909

Size: 95,000sf

Construction schedule: 14 months

Awards: Diversified Construction was awarded a 2011 Minnesota Preservation Award by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota and a 2011 Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Award by The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission, Preserve Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Chapter of The American Institute of Architects.

Project Summary: In 2008 Diversified Construction partnered with Turnstone 800 Partners to perform a complete renovation of the historic 8 story Pence Automobile Company Building. Historic Tax Credits were used to fund part of the approximately $7,000,000 project. The scope of work included a complete renovation of the building to make the space suitable for multi-tenant use. Interior work included demolishing the interior spaces of each floor to create wide, open floor plans throughout the building, building new ADA compliant restrooms on each floor, replacing the existing elevator equipment and cabs with completely new equipment while utilizing the existing machine rooms and shaft and updating the mechanical and electrical systems as necessary throughout. Exterior work included tuck-pointing and replacing brick as necessary and replacing 250 windows.

Due to the project receiving historic tax credits it was paramount to meet the Historical Preservation Requirements for the new windows, exterior improvements and interior detail work. This involved sourcing specialty subcontractors that were able to replicate original design elements of the building but using modern day materials and techniques.

Due to the buildings’ inclusion on the Historical Registrar, The National Park Service Board’s heavy involvement ensured the historical elements of the building were preserved. This involved sourcing specialty subcontractors that were able to replicate original design elements of the building but using modern day materials and techniques. The Board’s design criteria not only included exterior components such as matching the original window profiles but interior spaces were held to meet certain criteria as well Meeting these criteria led to several revisions of the plans. Diversified worked continuously with the Developer (Turnstone 800 Partners) and the building Architect (Cunningham Group) in establishing budgets based on these requirements from the board and other rapidly changing visions from the design team.  Diversified Construction was also able to offer great value by offering value engineering ideas throughout this pre-construction phase of the project.

Diversified Construction was integral in developing the cost/budgets, scheduling, and identifying issues and solutions that were presented during the course of the project.  We contracted with experienced subcontractors and suppliers to incorporate the many details necessary to meet the historical requirements of the building. We also worked closely with Hess Roise Company to ensure we were in compliance to receive the historical tax credits available.

Diversified Construction was later awarded contracts to perform tenant buildouts for the following companies within the building: Art Institute International Minnesota, Meritas, Parameters, The Sartell Group, Modern Climate and Wieden & Kennedy. Based on Diversified’s knowledge of the building and the requirements of the Historical Committees, we were also commissioned to help architects and tenants working in other spaces of the building during their conceptual design phases.

Modern Climate 2W+K (30)

Central Avenue Apartments

Diversified recently wrapped up construction remodeling 2 adjacent units at Central Avenue Apartments in Minneapolis. The apartments are located in an 8 unit building originally built in the early 1900’s. The 2 units still had original materials and finishes, thus every surface and mechanical system needed updating.

Construction included replacing knob and tube electrical, installing a new central AC system, replacing all the pipes and radiators, leveling the floors and ceilings, asbestos abatement, removing plaster from the walls to expose original brick and installing brand new hardwood flooring throughout.  Special detail was paid to the lumber and millwork in the units; original rough sawn lumber was used whenever possible where structural repairs were needed, antique doors and frames were salvaged and restored, and original historical millwork was replicated and carried throughout the units.

The finished aesthetic pays homage to the building’s history combined with modern day high level finishes including stunning quartz Caeserstone countertops, archways finished with architectural tin ceilings, marble tile and backlit birdseye maple display cabinets.

Mark Petersen of Luken Architecture was the architect.

 

Central Ave (4)

Central Ave (2)

Central Ave (9)

Central Ave (8)