Public gets its chance to weigh in on possible Hudson reuse optionsThe city council was the first to hear the experts’ opinions on what could be done with the old Hudson Manufacturing building in downtown Hastings. The Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority got the second look. On Nov. 22, it was the public’s turn to hear in detail what the building could become.
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The city council was the first to hear the experts’ opinions on what could be done with the old Hudson Manufacturing building in downtown Hastings. The Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority got the second look. On Nov. 22, it was the public’s turn to hear in detail what the building could become.
“This building could be a true gem in the crown of downtown,” said Will Stark of Stark Preservation Planning LLC, the principal investigator on the MnDOT sponsored reuse study.
The first question on many people’s minds has been if the building even can be repurposed, or if it’s already deteriorated beyond repair. Stark and his associates made it clear that even though there are some issues with the physical building, it can be repaired for continued use.
“It continues to be very serviceable,” said Bob Claybaugh of Claybaugh Preservation Architecture Inc.
When it came to figuring out what sort of uses it could house, Stark said the reuse team set itself seven guiding principles, based off comments they received from community members and local stakeholders. They wanted the space to include a publicly accessible interior space and an inviting public open space outside. They wanted to create something with high design standards and something that would enhance and support the rest of the downtown business district. Because of its size, they wanted to include several types of uses that would be implemented in phases so as to not overwhelm the downtown economy. They also wanted to respect the value of the pre-World War II sections of the building and be selective about what’s torn down.
The guiding principles led the team to suggest three scenarios to help people envision the possibilities in the building. One was anchoring the site with a 50-room boutique inn covering the second floor, similar to Red Wing’s St. James Hotel. Below could be a restaurant, large banquet hall, retail space, lobby gallery and visitor welcome center or interpretive center. The basement could house a trail head along the river and a coffee shop or bar.
The second scenario was to create an inn on two floors in the closest wing to the river, adding condominiums to the second level in the other parts of the building and arranging retail, a banquet hall, gallery and restaurant on the main floor. Since condo owners look for indoor parking, the basement of the north wing could be easily turned into a parking garage.
The third use made the restaurant and banquet hall the anchoring use, with office space, retail, a gallery, interpretive center and coffee shop to complement it.
Reuse is not limited to these three scenarios, however. Stark noted that his team’s ideas are only ideas to give an idea of what could happen rather than what will or even should happen.
“There are many more mixes that would be possible,” Stark said.