BKV News

Site Plan Approved for City of Ramsey Fire Station No. 2

Ramsey Fire Station  BKV Group

A rendering of the new Ramsey Fire Station No. 2.


The City of Ramsey approved the site plan for the new Fire Station No. 2! Managing Architect Bruce Schwartzman and the team have developed a design that will fit the fire department’s needs and reflect the surrounding community – both now and in the future. Read the article here.

BKV Group was hired by the City of Ramsey Fire Department to evaluate a proposed new site to house a replacement for their current Station No. 2.  The city was approached by two separate developers interested in acquiring the land currently occupied by the existing station, and our team assessed whether a nearby city-owned site was adequate to house the new facility. Learn more about BKV Group Fire Station Design.


BKV Group Construction Tip: Wrestling with Winter Condensation

Frost forming on a window BKV Group

You can prevent frost forming on windows with these easy tips.

When temperatures dip to those chilly lows, the windows in buildings can fog and frost up just like the windows in cars — especially when it’s below zero.  General strategies to keep your windows clear include keeping the humidity level low and making sure that the interior conditioned air is moving over the glass.

Here are some tips to reduce or eliminate the amount of moisture or frost on your windows:

  1. Maintain humidity levels low during cold weather by running the bathroom exhaust during and for a minimum of10 minutes after bath or showering. You can also run the exhaust at the range if you are doing a lot of cooking. Try to maintain 30-35% humidity in the winter months. This is on the dryer side of comfortable, but will cut down a great deal on moisture related issues.
  2. Turn the heating unit fan to “ON” instead of “AUTO” so that the air is always circulating.
  3. Run your ceiling fans so that the air is drawn up from the floor and blown down the walls. This will force the warm air near the ceiling down to warm the cooler walls and windows.
  4. Keep blinds a minimum of 2” above the window sill or floor.
  5. Rotate blinds so that they are at least ¼” open and are positioned so that rising warm air on the interior side is caught by the blades and directed toward the glass. For faster defogging, open the blinds completely.

Fogged or frosted windows are very common when it gets cold.  Keeping these tips in mind will help you to continue seeing clearly.

BKV Group’s Construction Tips are brought to you by our experienced Construction Administration staff.

Schmidt Artist Lofts Featured on Curbed.com

Schmidt Artist Lofts, BKV Group

The Schmidt Artist Lofts are an adaptive reuse of the historic Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Schmidt Artist Lofts were featured on Curbed.com! The article highlights both the brewery’s rich history and the team’s approach to converting the buildings into housing for artists. BKV Group partner Mike Krych. AIA, discusses some of the challenges and opportunities involved with this unique historic building — and how everything finally came together as beautiful and affordable housing.

…when Dominium Group bought the pair of structures for $6.2M in 2012, its plans were to convert the former Schmidt brew house and bottle house into artist live and work spaces. “It was a good avenue to get a collective group of people together that had common goals and interests to create a community,” Krych says. The project benefited from $69.3M in tax-exempt bonds from St. Paul’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority, $4.2M in environmental cleanup funds, and about $70M in low-income and historic tax credits. — Amy Schellenbaum, Curbed.com.

Read the Curbed article here.

About Schmidt Artist Lofts

The adaptive reuse of the historic Schmidt Brewery into artist lofts continues the rich tradition of a 100-year-old neighborhood landmark in the city of St. Paul. It also effectively preserves the Brew House and Bottling House as centerpieces of the newly created Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company Historic District. After five years of planning and design, the team finally began turning the brewery’s 16 acres into the 350,000 sf Schmidt Artist Lofts. The Lofts play an integral part in revitalizing a historic St. Paul neighborhood. The buildings’ finishes, unit types, and amenities are the same as those commonly found in high-end, market-rate developments, but would not typically be affordable to people of low to moderate income. Rental rates are approximately 60-70 percent of the cost of similar market-rate units in the area.


Nicollet Hotel Block Project


A view of the proposed building along Hennepin Avenue.

We’re excited to be part of Doran Companies’ proposal for the Nicollet Hotel Block in downtown Minneapolis! The design intertwines the best of today’s urban lifestyle and includes a glass-clad mixed-use tower, a beautiful transit-oriented plaza, and space for retail, restaurants, and a hotel.

It was a privilege to work with Doran, Investors Real Estate Trust (IRET), and Graves Hospitality to create a proposal that fits the City of Minneapolis’ goal of a modern, flexible, and community-focused urban space that reflects the unique character of the city.

The Nicollet Hotel Block takes its name from the historic Nicollet Hotel, which was built in the early 1900s. Together, the hotel and adjacent Gateway Park once marked the beginning of the Gateway District.  The hotel was demolished in 1991, however, and the property currently holds a surface parking lot.

The Gateway District has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity, making the Nicollet Hotel Block a prime spot for a pivotal project. City planners hope to transform the underused block into a new cultural, transit, and event hub. Their design requirements included a building of at least 20 stories, a plaza/outdoor space, and room for retail and a hotel.

This development will complement the upcoming Nicollet Mall redesign and the proposed modern streetcar line, and it will also blend with the Mall’s green space plans.

Check out our renderings below and stay tuned for updates!

BKV Group renderings of Nicollet Hotel Block, Minneapolis

A bird’s eye view of the block.


The plaza from street level.

Two BKV Group Projects Make “Top 10 in 2015″ List

A-Mill Artist Lofts, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A-Mill Artist Lofts, a BKV Group adaptive reuse project in Minneapolis.

Two BKV projects have been featured in The Line’s “10 Development Projects That Will Transform Minneapolis in 2015”! Our transit-oriented Lake & Hiawatha project and the A-Mill Artist Lofts both made the list.

A-Mill Artist Lofts

Why this project made the list: “…the mill’s adaptive reuse into affordable live-work artist housing—by the developer Dominium Co., with architects from BKV Group—provides a good reason for preservationists to celebrate. The complex will also include studios and performance spaces,” Phillip Koski, The Line.

This project is an exciting opportunity to preserve a Minneapolis landmark while providing affordable housing for artists, which will continue to encourage the Twin Cities’ vibrant arts scene. The site is located at the heart of the former flour capital of the world — in downtown Minneapolis on the East Bank of the Mississippi River.  The anchor of the site is the original Pillsbury A-Mill constructed in 1881 by Charles A Pillsbury.   The building is constructed of Platville limestone and features a distinctive bow of over two feet in both plan and section as a result of poor engineering and the qualities of the stone exterior.   The A-Mill is designated as a National Landmark, and the eight other structures on the site are on the National Register of Historic Places.


The A-Mill Artist Lofts will feature 255 affordable artist housing units along with common art spaces including art galleries, clay studios, painting studios, a photography studio, digital media studios, vocal and instrumental sound booths, dance practice studios, and a performance hall. The plan for the lower level of the A-Mill is a new Interpretive Museum that will tell the story of the complex and the role of water power in milling.  New interventions on the buildings will be done in a way that respects the historic and raw industrial character of the buildings.  Two new primary entrances feature extruded metal volumes that recall industrial chutes found within the buildings and respect the industrial character of the site.


BKV Group Architects Participating in the 2014 AIA Minnesota Convention

Two BKV Group staff members are participating in this year's AIA MN Conference.

Two BKV Group staff members are participating in this year’s AIA MN Conference. Image credit: AIA MN


The 2014 AIA Minnesota Convention is taking place from now until November 14 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This year’s theme is ACCESS EXCELLENCE, and the program centers on sharing the wealth of information within our industry to encourage us to grow as professionals.

This year, two BKV Group staff members are participating in the convention! If you’re attending the conference, be sure to stop by these exciting events.

Engaging the Next Generation of Architects

Gretchen Camp, AIA, Partner & Sustainability Coordinator

We all know millennials have different workplace needs, learning styles, and career goals than previous generations. So what can the architecture industry do to engage new talent? Gretchen is participating in a panel called “Engaging the Next Generation of Architects” (Event 38) to discuss ways to encourage, educate, and retain the next generation of architects. The panel will speak from 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, November 13.

An Architects Stories from the Mill City Museum Construction

John Stark, AIA, Managing Architect

Want to get the inside scoop on one of Minneapolis’ most treasured historic buildings? John is leading a walking tour exclusively for Construction History Society of America members. The tour, called “An Architect’s Stories from the Mill City Museum Construction,” will take you through the construction history and process of rehabilitating the mill ruins along St. Anthony Falls into the popular Mill City Museum. You’ll also get an exclusive glimpse of the A-Mill Artist Lofts, an exciting adaptive reuse of the old Pillsbury A-Mill that’s currently under construction. CHSA members can join John from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 13.

See you at the convention!

Rochester’s New Fire Station No. 2 On Track for Completion in 2015

Rochester, MN Fire Station No. 2, fire stations, fire station design

A rendering of Rochester, MN’s new Fire Station No. 2, which is currently under construction.

Spotted: A BKV Group project in the news! The new Fire Station No. 2 in Rochester, MN is under construction and on track to be completed by early 2015. This station will significantly expand Rochester’s fire fighting operations and provide more space for training and meetings.

Read the full story.

The Rochester Fire Department’s existing Station No. 2 was too small and no longer appropriately located.  The department needed new, up-to-date facilities that would also allow for future growth. After studying the issues and researching the latest design trends, the Rochester Fire Department conducted a national search for a design team.  They selected BKV Group, who teamed with local firms Kane Johnson Architects and civil engineer McGhie Betts. The project is currently in schematic design, aided by advanced Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology.


The Walkway named a Top Project of 2013 by Finance & Commerce

The Walkway in Uptown Minneapolis, designed by BKV Group

The Walkway, a BKV Group project, is a mixed-use apartment complex in Uptown Minneapolis.

The Walkway, a luxury apartment building designed by BKV Group, was named a Top Project of 2013 by Finance & Commerce.  The apartments are located in Minneapolis’ bustling Uptown district, where residents can take advantage of the area’s many restaurants, bars, shops and bike trails.  The Walkway’s top-of-the-line amenities include everything from a concierge and private bar to a decked out “splash deck” and terrace.  Units are finished with sophisticated details like teak cabinets, quartz countertops and hardwood floors — but the building’s most eye-catching detail is a cantilevered, clear-sided hot tub that hangs over the sidewalk below.

Read the full article here.

Finance & Commerce features The Penfield as a Top Project of 2013

The Penfield is one of the first market rate mixed-use projects constructed in downtown Saint Paul in 20 years. The City of Saint Paul stepped in as the developer after initial plans for a condo project went cold and the project couldn’t be developed privately. The project covers an entire city block bounded by 10th, Minnesota, 11th and Robert Streets. With 254 apartment units and a Lunds grocery store on the street level, the transit-oriented development project is located one block from the 10th and Cedar Station of the Green Line LRT. The project is seeking LEED Silver Certification.


Finance and Commerce feature: http://finance-commerce.com/2014/08/top-projects-the-penfield/

View more on Penfield here: http://www.thepenfieldapts.com/


Finance & Commerce features ElseWarehouse as a Top Project of 2013

“ElseWarehouse was a unique opportunity and a unique building,” said Brent Rogers, vice president of Greco Real Estate Development. “It has great components such as large windows, interesting floor plans and unique location in the North Loop, which is just a great neighborhood.”

Greco hired BKV Group for this $30 Million historic renovation. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the building has been renewed with innovative features such as a two-story atria, intimate alcoves for social gathering, and a glass-encased rooftop clubroom and rooftop skypark, providing panoramic views of the Minneapolis skyline.

ElseWarehouse, defines new urban living for the young professional, and redefines the idea of ‘Green building’ by repurposing existing infrastructure to revitalize an urban neighborhood.  ElseWare proves it can be AnyWhere, as a model of creative adaptive reuse for urban place-making and sustainability.

ElseWarehouse exterior entry

The Finance & Commerce article can be found here: