Donjek Project: Reuse of Iconic Jacob Schmidt Brewery

Schmidt_army_arch_flickrThe iconic Jacob Schmidt Brewery sits on fifteen acres along the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The history of brewing on the site can be traced to 1855, three years before statehood. The brewery’s role as a major employer, architectural landmark in the river valley, public source of coveted spring water and – of course – Schmidt beer – has assured its iconic place in the city’s cultural life and historic fabric.


The questions of adaptive reuse have for years been daunting, but a new joint ownership between developers Jeff and Craig Cohen and the Fort Road Federation (one of Saint Paul’s district councils) elevates both the profile and the potential for redevelopment in the near term.  Theirs is a mixed-use, multi-phase approach that aims to utilize the bottling house and the leviathan main brewing building, affectionately known as “the Castle.”

Donjek has been retained by the prospective new ownership group (known as “Brewtown”) to assist with project finance, and I am enthused to conduct feasibility analysis for a site of such economic, cultural and historic value to the city and its prospective owners.  While Schmidt and subsequently Minnesota Brewing eventually fell victim to the market pressures facing mid-size brewing operations, the site today has the potential to thrive as a creative, historic mixed-use redevelopment.  I look forward to keeping you posted as the project unfolds!

Photo:  ArmyArch/Flickr.