Source: Finance & Commerce


Address: 1934 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

Project cost: $2.38 million

Project size: 28,186 square feet

Owner: Burch Investors LLC

Contractor: Nolan Co.

Architect: Collaborative Design Group

Engineer: Collaborative Design Group


Neighborhood associations typically don’t agree to trade a duplex for a parking lot. But that’s how the 100-year-old Burch Building at the corner of Hennepin and Lyndale avenues became a neighborhood anchor again.

The iconic Burch Pharmacy left in 2010. The building — which once housed the first Minneapolis social club to allow women — sat vacant until Charles Nolan, principal of Nolan Co. in Wayzata, formed Burch Investors to renovate it.

Burch Investors bought and demolished the duplex behind it in 2012, then began rehabbing the 28,186-square-foot building. “The neighborhood was very supportive, because we told them: Without parking you won’t get serious tenants interested,” Nolan said.

The nearly $2.38 million in renovations, completed in June 2013, took a little more than a year. The building’s first floor and basement are now home to the Burch Steak and Pizza Bar, a hit with area restaurant critics. The Burch redevelopment includes 12,000 square feet of office space and 2,300 square feet of retail space in a separate building called the Annex.

Craig Milkert, project manager and structural engineer for Collaborative Design Group, said the design preserved most of the building’s historic features such as the original brick exterior and hexagonal black and white tile. But sometimes modern materials made more sense, such as the zinc, stainless steel and glass in the stair tower and the elevator tower.

“We decided it was better to make it look new than to try and make it look original,” Milkert said. “Revisions are part of history, too.”

Hidden elevator shafts and coal shafts, which emerged when workers cut into the walls to install HVAC shafts, came as a surprise. Dismantling the original boiler, which was the size of a small dump truck, wasn’t easy either, and they encountered more asbestos than they expected. But in the end, the project came in on time, and a significant corner in Minneapolis was transformed.

“I’m really pleased we were able to take a building that was a fond memory for decades and position it structurally for the next 100 years,” Nolan said.