By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor
District Energy St. Paul and its affiliate, Ever-Green Energy, have chosen the historic Jemne Building in Saint Paul, Minnesota as their new home. The company acquired the art deco structure—designed by Magnus and Elsa Jemne in 1931 for the Women’s City Club—in March for $1.7 million.
The building located at 305 St. Peter St. was listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1982, renovated for the Museum of Modern Art from 1972 to 1994, and for World Architects and Engineers in 1998.
“Not only does the purchase make sense in a purely real estate investment way—with its great location and Mississippi River views along a quickly redeveloping stretch of Kellogg Boulevard—but it really fits who we are as an organization,” Nina Axelson, director, community & customer relations for District Energy, told the Star Tribune. “What we’re doing here is taking an old building and giving it a new life as a hallmark to energy efficiency and education about sustainable energy use. In that way, it’s very fitting to what we’re all about.”
The building features district heating and cooling provided by District Energy St. Paul—over 60 percent of its heating is provided from renewable energy. Work is underway to prepare the building for occupancy, slated to open in fall 2015. This month takes place the finalization of a $1.2 million reconstruction process led by the Minneapolis office of LHB Architects and RJM Construction, reports the Star Tribune.
“Preserving this building’s architectural history while showcasing advanced technologies will be a great challenge and a great opportunity. Jemne historically served as a place for social and intellectual discourse, which we expect to carry forward. We will use our new home to advance new sustainable energy solutions through collaborations with local utilities, designers, architects, engineers, planners, developers, and other stakeholders. This intersection of engineering and community building is the foundation of our business, and the Jemne Building provides a great opportunity to incubate ideas and integrate solutions in the coming years,” Ken Smith, president & CEO of District Energy St. Paul and its affiliates, said in a prepared statement.
Image courtesy of District Energy St. Paul