Nearly destroyed by fire, historic apartments have new life

MINNEAPOLIS - Set for demolition in 2012 after a three alarm fire, The St. George Apartments in Stevens Square have come a long way, including an honor today by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.

As smoke filled the sky back in March 2012 all anybody could do is watch.

The fire destroyed everything inside, and what it didn't burn, Gary Brummer cleared out.

"We went through and chainsawed everything out," explained Brummer.

Brummer purchased the property after the blaze and said you could stand in the basement and look at the sky. All that remained were the four brick exterior walls.

But Brummer created a plan to bring the apartments back.

"It's really in the details," explained architect Paul Meyer.

Brummer worked with Paul Meyer Architects to do what they could to restore everything that was damaged.

Thirty plus housing units were put back together with new pieces as well as old.

"I went to every brick place in Minneapolis and found the closest brick that we could get," said Brummer.

The east wall was partially missing and the new brick that replaced it is a near match.

For the most part everything inside looks the same too, but all of the units have new windows, flooring, appliances and granite countertops and bathrooms.

It's work fitting enough to be awarded at a banquet for the Minneapolis chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

"It's strong," said Brummer. "The building is stronger now than when it was new."

Set for demolition, all 30 plus units are now fully restored and fully rented.

For a list of all of the buildings honored at the Heritage Preservation Awards, click here.


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