Owners Share Plans for New Distillery, Event Center in St. Cloud
ST. CLOUD -- The plans are in motion to bring two new unique businesses to east St. Cloud.
Kevin Johnson is the owner of 539 Properties and will be redeveloping the property along East St. Germain Street. Its most recent tenant was Gulf Eagle Supply.
He says he's officially owned the building since December 1st, but he's had his eye on it for about four years with a vision of what it could become.
Johnson says great old buildings like this one are becoming few and far between.
Buildings like this, they just don't make them anymore. The brick structure and the enormous size to begin with. The second-floor space is all maple wood flooring, 15,000 square feet. You're never going to find that in a brand new building today.
Johnson says the building is in good solid condition. He says while it will take a lot of work to completely renovate the large two-story structure, it will be worth it to save it.
Walk by this thing and you'd never know, for one the age of the building, what went on in here. The different owners over the years. We've been able to find enough pictures from the historical society of what went on in here when it was International Harvester, which built the building.
It dates back to 1928.
IRON STREET DISTILLERY
A distillery will be occupying the first floor.
John Martens is the owner of Iron Street Distillery. It will include a cocktail room in the front along the street with a production area in the back.
He says they are planning to offer a wide variety of spirits.
We'd like to have vodka, gin, rum, brandy, bourbon, whiskey, rye and some deviations from those. It's a lot to take on, but we've got plans to be able to build a cocktail base around those. We've already started to put menus together and tie in with the theme.
Martens says they are already coming up with some names for the different liquors, many of which will be a nod to either International Harvester or the city's east side.
Martens says the plan is to create a cozy atmosphere in the cocktail room.
We're looking at potentially having a fireplace, a lot of couches and lounge chairs. An atmosphere where you can come in and have a couple of drinks, enjoy the cocktail, in a great atmosphere. There's potential for some live music.
Martens says they are expecting to have seating for between 175 and 200 people in the cocktail rooms. There will also be a street-level patio on the west side of the building, and eventually seating for 49 people up on the rooftop.
Right now the tentative opening date for Iron Street Distillery is November 1st.
A new place to host your wedding or other events on the second floor.
Owner Tessa Johnson says she has a vision of hosting events like weddings from start to finish.
We see that in the Twin Cities a lot that there are full market spaces that you can host the wedding party all day and host everyone throughout the day and really make it an event.
The space still needs to be remodeled, but they are starting with good bones from exposed brick walls to all hardwood floors.
Johnson says even though they have a lot of work to do before it is ready, there has been a lot of interest from the public in renting out the space.
Johnson says she wants it to be a full experience for the bridal parties.
A dedicated area where we will host the bridal party throughout the day. A separated area for the bride and her crew, and then the guys and their crew. We'll have it distinguished where it is separate, I know that is important for brides and grooms.
The space has a capacity for up to 500 people.
They are hoping Harvester Square is ready to be used by early December.
The property is about four acres in size with the building taking up about one-third of it. There's room for around 250 parking spaces on site.
Johnson says he's learned a lot about the historical importance of the building since he started the process of buying it. Much of the artwork and decor throughout the renovated space will be honoring the building's past and its International Harvester roots.
539 Properties will be asking the St. Cloud City Council for its final approval during a public hearing on Monday night.