Shea firm walking its talk on Hennepin Avenue
Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
Architect David Shea, who has had a say in the commercial revitalization of Hennepin Avenue, is walking the talk.
Shea, owner of the 33-year-old Shea Inc. architectural, design and marketing firm that bears his name, has signed a 10-year lease with the owner of the "Shinders" building at Eighth Street and Hennepin Avenue that has been vacant since the magazine peddler closed in 2007.
Shea also will direct a $3 million overhaul of the iconic, 24,000-square-foot, two-level structure that will include a restaurant that may feature a glass, gabled roof that can be retracted during good weather.
"After helping to position so many of our clients [on Hennepin], we're really excited to put ourselves in the mix," Shea said. "We have a lot emotionally invested in the core of downtown.'' Shea's firm has been in nearby Butler Square for 20 years.
Shea said: "We want street-level access and for the first floor to be a living art project, an animated store front so that it will add to the vibrancy and vitality of Hennepin. Not just a darkened store at night. This gives us an opportunity to do what you can't do from the sixth floor of an office building. Reach out to the public."
The building will house Shea's offices on the second floor and a restaurant tenant on the lower level, first floor and rooftop. Welsh Construction will commence work in early 2012 and Shea plans to move in by July.
The Shea firm's work on Hennepin spans the Chambers Hotel, Solera, Crave, Hennepin Theater Trust, LaSalle Plaza, Seven, pending plans for Block E, Fogo de Chao and Rosa Mexicano restaurants, as well as a Lunds store planned for 12th Street and Hennepin.
The former Shinders building was constructed in 1947 for Snyder Drug. The "Snyder" name, inscribed in the terrazzo floor on the first level, will be preserved. Most of the rest of the interior and exterior will be overhauled.
The building is majority-owned by Dr. Al and Sue Zelickson, a member of the Snyder family that founded the drugstore chain. Shea and the Zelicksons are longtime friends and project collaborators.
Shea Inc. employs 30 and posts revenue of about $5 million from projects locally and around the country.