Originally built in 1866 for the Union National Bank on downtown Rochester’s historic Third Street, the two-story building has been repurposed over the years to new needs and tastes. For many years it was a Chinese café. More recently, a tapas bar. In January 2015, the building owners embarked on construction to convert the restaurant into a brew pub and restaurant. With its proximity to the Mayo, name (its name is a reference to Rochester’s high density of medical professionals); award-winning offerings housed an industrial-chic atmosphere by Architect 9.SQUARE Community Design, Grand Rounds has become an instant classic. The process of planning and execution required to transform the historic building to its new function took care and collaboration.
Adam Kramer, KA project manager, and Tessa Leung, building owner and Grand Rounds chief operations manager, discussed the project.
Q: What were challenges of renovating and repurposing this historic building for use as a microbrewery/ bar/restaurant?
KRAMER: A unique portion of the project scope consisted of constructing a new brew room on the first floor of the 150-year-old bank building. Most brew houses are built in a slab on grade structure. Since this building has a basement, this required an elevated platform for the brew house, so there were challenges with making it structurally sound and capable of containing liquid. In order to accomplish this we built a structural steel platform for the brew equipment to be supported. This meant installing new foundation in the basement to support the structure on ground floor. At the same time we installed a new cooler below the structure to keep the newly brewed beer cold.
It was also very important to the owner to maintain the historical character of the building once the project was finished. This created unique challenges for the project.
Q: Did KA assist during preconstruction? How?
LEUNG: KA met with our team several times to walk through the project and plan for any hiccups. We were building a complex brewing system in pretty tight space and trying to go through two stories of a building still occupied with tenants. The preconstruction meetings before we actually began putting in the brew house were critical.
Q: How did KA help you achieve your goals for the project?
LEUNG: KA kept us informed about what was happening the entire time, and they were great about trouble shooting problems and concerns on the spot. They were very respectful in regards to the age of the building and trying to work within a given budget.
KRAMER: As we were building the project we had to coordinate very closely with the architect and structural engineer in order to make this project work. Everything looked good on paper, but when you are doing reconstruction in a 150-year old building there are challenges all along the way.
Q: What are some of the historical elements of the building that have been preserved?
LEUNG: We were able to preserve the integrity of the entire structure, inside and out while incorporating modern finishes that match the original age of the building. The tile on the floor is one example. The wood on the outside of the brew house was salvaged from a building in Rochester that Kraus-Anderson is demolishing to make way for another project.
Q: You named a beer after KA– KA Minnesota Kolsch! What did we do to deserve such an awesome distinction?
LEUNG: Kraus-Anderson seems to be a natural fit for a naming a beer, especially since KA is also short for kick-ass! Beer and hard-work seem to go hand in hand, and how better to showcase a great community partner!