After a half-century shining above the West Seventh Street skyline, the Schmidt Brewery sign went dark when Minnesota Brewing Co. bought the site in the early 1990s.
Today, the brewery is long gone, but tomorrow night the Schmidt light will flash once again.
About half of the 15-acre site has been rechristened as the Schmidt Artist Lofts. Owen Metz, a developer with Dominium, says price points for the 260 units in the building at 876 W. Seventh St. range from $725 for a studio to $1,200 for a three-bedroom apartment. All but a handful have already been leased. Some folks started moving in as far back as last November, but work on the property has just been completed.
Diane Norquist, project manager for the city of St. Paul, tells us there are currently no plans in place for the rest of the old Schmidt Brewery property, though the city eventually hopes to convert it into office space.
The total cost of the public-private project was $125 million, Metz says.
Asked if there was any talk about changing the text of the old Schmidt sign or just not restoring it at all, Sara Swenson, public relations manager for the city of St. Paul, says, "It was a really big deal to Dominium... they knew the sign was an important piece not just of rehabbing a historic building but also for the neighborhood nostalgia."
Metz says the new LED sign, which cost about $120,000, is the same size as the old one and will mimic its classic look as closely as possible.
A relighting ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. as part of the Germanfest celebration set to take place on the old brewery property.
For more photos of the renovated Schmidt Artist Lofts, click to page two.