The Minneapolis Armory, a longtime landmark in downtown Minneapolis, will soon be sold to RPD Catalyst, a Los Angeles-based real estate firm that plans to invest up to $12 million in the building. RPD plans to convert the building, which has a footprint of 60,000-sf, into space for telecommunications-equipment providers – both for “telco hoteling” and a data center, says Doug Hoskin, who is general partner of the real estate partnership that is selling the building.

RPD officials said they like the location because it is close to fiber optic cables as well as near the downtown core. The new owners plan to add a second level to the space, creating about 120,000-sf of commercial space, as well as refurbishing the adjacent 28,000-sf offices. The new owners will spend about $12 million on the refurbishment, which will include a new roof, updated electrical and plumbing systems and the new floor.

Hoskin, who has committed an invested of about $4.2 million into the building, declined to disclose how much he was selling it for.Hoskin’s partnership bought the building last year from Hennepin County for $1.3 million, and has converted the lower level into 140 parking stalls. Hoskins, a vice president with Imperial Parking that runs the parking space, says the lower level will remain parking and will be operated by Imperial. The county had bought the building more than a decade ago, and planned to tear it down and build a new jail. But the building was declared a historic site, and public officials have since had difficulty in finding another use for it that did not involve heavy public subsidies.

“It’s unusual to see a historic building like this restored with public money,” Hoskins told Hoskin also looked at more than a dozen potential uses for the building before landing the RPD deal “blew in out of now where.” The armory, which was built as a public works project during the Depression, was used first by the military and then as an event center – including serving as the temporary home of the Minneapolis (now Los Angeles) Lakes professional basketball team in the ’50s. It has essentially been a vacant building over most of the last two decades.

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