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Capital Investment Updates

From state-owned Asset Preservation to Local Projects to just cool things that make it into the bonding bill, here's where we'll share the new and noteworthy information about public investments in building rehabilitation.


Update - May 22, 2023


The MN Legislature has reached a deal on a capital investment package that will included both an "all-cash" bill as well as a traditional bonding bill. The total capital investment is expected to add up to $2.6 billion in spending for infrastructure and other building/construction/rehab projects for publicly owned and non-profit assets. We'll share a rundown of what this means for preservation at a future date.


Update - May 18, 2023


The House and Senate Capital Investment Committee chairs, Rep. Fue Lee and Sen. Sandy Pappas, have agreed on projects to include in a capital investment bill. A bipartisan bonding bill passed the MN House earlier in the session, with the required 2/3 majority, but that same package failed to get Senate approval. Since then, the committee chairs have sought to use the opportunity provided by the record budget surplus to fund some of the kinds of infrastructure projects that would typically be included in a bonding bill. The proposed package is smaller, though, since it will be paid in "all-cash" rather than borrowing through General Obligation bonds. The all-cash pathway allows for grants directly to non-profits, several of which are for renovation or rehabilitation of historic buildings:

  • the Duluth Armory is in the bill for $4.5 million

  • The Playwright's Center in St. Paul, which will repurpose a building adjacent to the University-Raymond historic district, is due to get $3 million

  • the nearby Film North project will receive $2 million

  • Artspace's Northrup King building project in Northeast Minneapolis will receive $1.72 million

The House and Senate will take up the capital investment bills in the coming days. See the full spreadsheet here.


Update - March 6, 2023


On the floor this afternoon, the Minnesota House of Representatives will debate the $1.9 billion bonding bill that both the House and Senate Capital Investment committees approved in late February.


Funding in this bill would be directed to several projects involving historic places – from the Duluth Armory to the Tubman Center East in Maplewood to Pilot Knob in Eagan. See our notated spreadsheet for the full list of sites; National Register-listed or eligible places are highlighted in yellow, and other building-reuse projects are called out in blue.


Also included in the committee-approved bills - $4.4 million for demolition of the Ford Building and nearly $78 million for a project that would demo 5 buildings on the Hastings Veteran’s Home campus. Although Rethos is not actively opposing these demolitions, these projects are evidence of the work we have left to do to ensure building reuse is prioritized in public policy.


Update - January 24, 2023


In case you missed it, the House Rules Committee held two hearings in December on plans to renovate and add onto the State Office Building. The plans by BWBR and Robert A.M. Stern Architects come with a $500 million price tag and received a fair amount of press scrutiny, with articles in the state’s major newspapers, business journals, web-based news outlets including Axios Twin Cities & the Minnesota Reformer, and Twin Cities-area TV news. A Fox9 news report from one year ago reported that, in 2019, the estimated cost of renovations were about half that amount at $288 million. Presentations on the conditions of the building, which was constructed in 1932 and last renovated in the 1980s, were insightful, especially on issues such as accessibility and mechanical systems.


Yet unknown are specific plans for the state-owned, long-vacant, National Register-eligible Ford Building, which stands a short distance across University Avenue from the proposed expanded footprint of the State Office Building. The Legislature appropriated $170,000 In October 2020 to design a demolition plan for the Ford Building, including some kind of design element to memorialize the existing building. Based on past presentations to the Capitol Area Architecture and Planning Board, the State’s ultimate goal has been a new office building on the corner of Rice and University, taking up most of the block adjacent to historic Christ Lutheran Church.

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