“We joined SCCA to learn from and work with other successful businesses in the Seward neighborhood.”
SCCA Member: Jim Welna, Welna II Hardware

Building Adds Unique Feature To Franklin Ave.

Sitting at the corner of Franklin and 23rd lies an eclectic building shrouded in mystery and filled with history. Many don’t know how this building came into existence and the stories that are linked to it. I met with building owner, Steven Seitzer, and received a tour that left me amazed at its uniqueness and ingenuity.

Constructed in 1915 as the Agate Movie Theater, this building has remained a fixture on Franklin Ave for almost 100 years now. The theater was privately held until 1955, when it was sold to a precision metal grinding shop. The company gutted the interior of the theater in order to make room for its equipment. Seitzer bought the building in 1998 and it was extremely dilapidated and run-down. He even recalls an entire section of an exterior wall fell down. It was nothing more than a concrete and sandstone box.

From the very beginning of the renovations, Seitzer wanted to maintain the original front façade of the movie theater. He believed it was vital to keep the history of the building present. The entire restoration consisted of three phases and was completed in 2010. The building now contains three businesses – 2nd Moon Café, Boneshaker Books, Mezzanine Salon – and a residential unit in the rear of the building.

The process of the renovation is what sets the building apart from normal building repairs. Seitzer estimates that 85% of the materials utilized were re-used or recycled. Throughout the building, one is able to see aspects of re-used materials that not only function as portions of the building, but they became pieces of art. The semi-circular roof that houses the Mezzanine Salon is an agricultural steel building kit that he was able to fuse on top of the existing building. The wood flooring throughout the entire building is recycled from several gymnasium floors that were able to be saved before they were demolished. Windows, doors, trim, and railings are all re-used materials that were all blended seamlessly into the building. The original trusses of the building that support the roof are visible within the walls and act as a decorative feature. There is even one decorative feature that can be found in Minneapolis history books. Along the driveway, leading to the residential unit, are three steel arches that used to be bus stops of old Nicollet Mall. Seitzer seemed to be extremely proud that an exceptional piece of history is a part of his building.

When discussing the process of his lengthy restoration, Seitzer remembers his initial goal for undergoing such a difficult task. “When I first started out, I wanted to create a building that would bring quality, healthful, and mindful businesses to the neighborhood,” Seitzer recalls. These few hundred words and couple of photos cannot truly do the building justice. The next time you need a haircut, cup of coffee, or a new book to read, head over to the building see the harmonious use of materials for yourself.


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