2013 Best Adaptive Reuse of a Building or Infrastructure: Town Hall Lanes and Schmidt Artist Lofts

And the winner is …


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It’s a tie! Town Hall Lanes (34th & 50th, Minneapolis) and Schmidt Artist Lofts (W. 7th & St. Clair, St. Paul) both secured 32% of the vote. Both are worthy projects that deserve to be profiled individually.

Town Hall Lanes – Minneapolis (34th Ave & Keewaydin Pl)

“How is that a reuse? It was a bowling alley to a bowling alley” – Anonymous


Hagen Christensen & McIlwain Architects transformed a sleepy neighborhood bowling alley into a bustling Town Hall expansion that has helped awaken the 34th Ave & 50th St. neighborhood business district – an up and coming corner of Minneapolis.


Town Hall Lanes’ renovation opened the building to the street by adding windows. This is a welcoming architectural feature that enhances the pedestrian experience at street level.  This is a small neighborhood project, that in my mind, has made a big impact.

The craftsmanship of the dark wood interior and antique-styled bar resemble Town Hall Tap (48th & Chicago) while the refinished bowling alley has the vibe of Bryant Lake Bowl. It does this while maintaining a “family pub” feel, as to say, Mom & Dad will grab a craft beer and drink responsibly while the children are kept busy at the lanes.

I asked Anonymous (from the sardonic quote up top) to describe Town Hall Lanes in three words. This is what I got:

1. Family Hipster
2. Chandelier
3. Classic Beer Art

If these things appeal to you (and bowling), then I see no reason why you wouldn’t want to visit Town Hall Lanes. It’s a great addition to the Nokomis neighborhood and a job well done as an adaptive re-use project.

If you’d like to check out photos of the interior, check out the feature on Warby Parker’s Road Trip Blog and head over to see construction photos at the architect’s blog.

Schmidt Brewery Artist Lofts – St. Paul (W. 7th & James):

The place is a landmark. I think so, and so did developer Dominium and architect BKV.


The Schmidt Brewery has been empty for what feels like the longest time, minus the $1 water tap. It’s a gem and that’s why it’s so great to see something happening. Unfortunately someone beat us to the punch!


The hope is that this project can help leverage the already improving West 7th Corridor. With the gentrifying and raising rents of Lowertown, it’s a natural progression to think West 7th is next, especially if aided by the possible streetcar line. The demographics are there, and this brewery reconstruction just might be what is needed to spark some life into a long, sleepy corridor. Now, if only we could divert more commuter traffic down to Shepard Road!

Check out the transformation on YouTube: http://youtu.be/8OTSJhueydw