From Turn-of-the-century Factory to Modern-day Business Park: Highlight Center Acts as Cultural and Professional Hub in Northeast Minneapolis

Outside of Highlight Center building

The brick building at 807 Broadway Street in Northeast Minneapolis has been a fixture in the Logan Park Neighborhood for more than a century.

Built in 1913, the property was originally a lightbulb factory for Mazda before being purchased by Minneapolis Public Schools in 1930. School administrators and staff moved into the building in 1948 and stayed for more than 60 years, selling the property in 2013.

Fast forward five years and one major renovation later, and the location is now referred to as the Highlight Center, a bustling hub for business and recreation that houses multiple business tenants, food, a brewery, creative office spaces and more.

Contemporary Amenities, Historic Charm

The transformation from school district headquarters to modern-day business park was completed by Hillcrest Development, LLLP, which purchased the building in 2014 and started construction days after the closing, according to Hillcrest Managing Partner Scott Tankenoff.

“At that point, the building hadn’t been renovated or invested in appropriately for several decades,” said Tankenoff. “It was in need of a significant investment and renovation.”

After a year of work on the property, the building had its grand opening in the fall of 2015.

Today, the building is home to numerous tenants, including Able Seedhouse and Brewery, sports-platform developer Sports Engine (NBC Sports), Rocket55 and Minnesota Nice Cream Cafe.

The building combines modern-day amenities and vestiges of the property’s past, including original brick interior walls and newly sandblasted wood ceilings and floors.

“We wanted to be able to honor the architecture that was there, which has a simple elegance to it,” said Tankenoff. “Many of these buildings have a simple beauty to them and I think that when they get renovated, sometimes people go a little too far.”

Creating Impact

The Highlight Center’s renovation was made possible by grants from the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Livable Communities Fund (TBRA), along with $8 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC).

The Highlight Center is now home to approximately 850 new jobs, attracting residents and economic growth to the neighborhood.

“If we do a good job of creating spaces and providing our clients amenities that are attractive for them to attract talent, we will do very well financially,” said Tankenoff.

“That’s what this project has done well. It’s very attractive for people who work and live in the Twin Cities, but especially those who wish to work and live in Northeast Minneapolis.”

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