New owner plans to restore Minneapolis Armory as an event center


The old Minneapolis Armory is on the verge of a new life.

A real estate developer and architect have teamed up to buy the historic building and plan to redevelop it, KSTP reports.

Swervo Development Corp. and the Minneapolis architecture firm Shea are the buyers of the property, which is just a few blocks from where the new Vikings stadium is under construction.

The Star Tribune says Swervo is known for renovating vintage structures. Leaders of Swervo and Shea tell the newspaper they want to honor the Armory's history while redeveloping it as a center that can again host sports events and concerts.

For more than a decade the building has only been used as a parking garage.

The Armory was built in 1935 by laborers with the Works Progress Administration. In addition to the Army, its tenants included basketball's Minneapolis Lakers during the 1940s and '50s.

When the Lakers' current arena in Los Angeles opened in 1999, the L.A. Times took a stroll through the team's history by touring the Minneapolis Armory – all the way down to the ammunition rooms and shooting range under its floor.

Former Lakers told the Times how drafty and cold the Armory was on winter nights and remembered that the locker room toilets could not be flushed while someone was using the shower without scalding a teammate.

The last basketball floor used by the Lakers at the Armory is now in Target Field's Town Ball Tavern.

A spokesman for Swervo tells the Business Journal the Armory was purchased for $6 million and more information about the timing of its redevelopment will be coming soon.

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