Built-in History

Dominium outfits historic buildings for new tenants.

Plymouth-based Dominium recently has been on the forefront of Twin Cities news, with high-profile development projects. The 40-plus-year-old company acquires, rehabilitates, builds and manages more than 22,000 affordable rental units in 19 states. But Dominium managing partner Armand Brachman says rehabilitating historic properties are the “fun projects.”

Two such projects include artist lofts in St. Paul and Minneapolis. What was once Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul is now home to 247 lofts and 13 townhomes for artists of various disciplines; in Minneapolis, the A-Mill Artist Lofts house 251 units in the historic Pillsbury building.

Each location offers artistic common areas, including space for dance, sculpting and painting studios. “There’s a lot of apartment complexes in the Twin Cities,” Brachman says. “The artist community’s needs [is] a niche we felt we met.”

Dominium is also committed to using natural energy. “We, as a company, are very focused on energy conservation,” Brachman says. “Most of our properties are LEED-certified.”

A-Mill already is outfitted for hydroelectric power from its history as a flour mill. Dominium is planning to use the same underground shafts, but upgrade them with a hydroelectric turbine to provide all the necessary power for the lofts.

The company was chosen in July to rehabilitate the Fort Snelling upper post, creating approximately 190 affordable apartments in the historic 19th and 20th century military hub. Brachman says projects like these give the company the opportunity to “preserve some of the history” of the Twin Cities.