Music nonprofit will move headquarters to historic Minneapolis White Castle building

The nonprofit aims to archive every recording released by a Minnesota musician.
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The historic White Castle Building No. 8 in Minneapolis has a new tenant. 

The Minnesota nonprofit Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO) will move its headquarters into the Lyndale Avenue South building so it can launch an "ambitious effort to archive and preserve every independent and small commercial recording released by Minnesota musicians," a news release says. 

"One of the most exciting aspects of the DEMO ‘archival project is working with the overwhelming number of artists that haven't received the recognition and support for their efforts in producing the thing they love to create – music," said DEMO Executive Director Steve McClellan.

DEMO formed in 1999 out of the former nonprofit arm of First Avenue and 7th Street Entry. It will use its new headquarters, when it moves in Oct. 1, as a center for Minnesota artists to submit their recorded music for the Minnesota Music Archive

“Demo’s mission is devoted to sustaining and promoting Minnesota’s independent music legacy,” said DEMO Board Chair Ted Martin. “The Minnesota Music Archive Project is our largest project to date, and we’re truly excited to relocate our headquarters into one of Minneapolis’ most iconic buildings, and to have it as a hub for the project”

The White Castle Building No. 8 was listed as available to rent on Craigslist earlier this summer, with Pat Fitzgerald, the property owner and an architect, telling BMTN earlier this month the interest in leasing the space has been "tremendous" and she didn't expect the ad to go viral.

The current tenant, Xcentric Goods, a collective of antique dealers, is easing into retirement, so she started looking for a new tenant. She was hoping to keep the use of the castle to something "local, fun and fitting," and in an email on July 21, Fitzgerald told BMTN DEMO is a "fabulous new use for the White Castle ... it's gonna rock."

The historic building, called White Castle Building No. 8, was built in 1936 and was one of the few prefabricated, portable buildings the White Castle fast-food chain built, according to the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH). It was the eighth White Castle in the region.

The building itself has been moved twice in its 84 years. White Castle Building No. 8 was originally at 616 Washington Ave. SE, but when the lease expired in 1950, it was relocated to 329 Central Ave. SE, where it remained until it was moved in 1984 to its current site at 3252 Lyndale Ave. S, SAH says.

The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Fitzgerald, who also owns the building at 3350 Lyndale Ave. S that houses Five Watt Coffee, has owned the property for about five years. She bought it from Randy McPeck, a goldsmith and "talented accordion guru," she said. Before McPeck, Calamity Jane, an all-female construction company, owned the castle. They coordinated the move of the castle to its current site on Lyndale.

According to the Craigslist ad, the upper level has black rubber flooring and white walls and the lower level has a stained concrete floor with a private access door, a full bath with a shower, a utility room with a big sink, a mechanical room with storage space. 

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