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Transformation of Historic 313 continues

Shelby Lindrud / TribunePreservation Alliance of Minnesota has taken over the Historic 313 project, deciding to remove the Willmar Food Hub and concentrat on the Foxhole Brewhouse and new resturants. Willmar Downtown Development continues to plan for the Hub, including looking for a new site.

WILLMAR — The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota continues to work toward the completion of the Historic 313 building on 4th Street in Willmar, hoping to see it open and full of tenants.

"In March, we decided to take a more active management role in the building," said Doug Gasek, executive director of PAM. Gasek gave an update on the progress of the building project at the Nov. 20 Willmar City Council work session.

The group and Willmar Downtown Development partnered together to purchase and renovate the art-deco inspired building next door to the Barn Theatre, when PAM decided it wanted to expand its reach into historic properties.

"We decided to expand the real estate program and start acquiring some properties but investing in historic buildings across Minnesota. The Historic 313 was the first one we decided to do that investment in," Gasek said.

But, when work slowed and the parties started to disagree on the direction of the project, PAM took over.

The first tenant of the Historic 313, Foxhole Brewhouse, has been a success and just recently increased their footprint in the building.

"They have expanded their main sitting space," along with extra storage, Gasek said.

The restaurant called Spurs is still under construction.

"Spurs restaurant continues to work on their build out and they are getting closer and closer to completing it," Gasek said.

In addition to the work at the Foxhole and Spurs, PAM is finishing up the common areas of the building, which includes a sitting area for customers to enjoy their meals.

To keep a better eye on the Historic 313 project, PAM decided it made sense to have a project manager closer to the activity. Sarina Otaibi works out of Granite Falls and makes regular trips to Willmar.

"She is here probably weekly looking at the building," Gasek said.

There is still room at the Historic 313 for a third food tenant and the search is on to find them.

"We've been in really close communication with Aaron Backman at the EDC. We've had a lot of conversations with potential clients for the space," Gasek said.

Gasek also hopes to improve the sharing of information between PAM and the city council.

"There has been a lag in communication," Gasek said.

Mayor Marv Calvin said both he and City Administrator Ike Holland have met with PAM and Holland will probably continue to be the main point of contact.

Once Spurs is ready to go the building will open for business, joining the Foxhole.

"We're pleased with the progress you have made out there," Calvin said.