Bakery to get a new look with project
By Tim Ruzek
Post-Bulletin, Austin MN
Patrick Bradley already has made improvements to four adjacent buildings in downtown Austin.
Now the Austin native, a Twin Cities attorney, is looking to improve a fifth building in his string of properties and clean up their rear entrance with a lobby featuring an elevator.
Current plans call for a roughly $400,000 project to improve the exterior of The Bakery Lounge bar’s building at 113 Second Ave. N.E. Bradley bought the Bakery building, which dates back to the late 1880s, a year ago and owns the adjacent Mickey’s Place bar, the former Curves building on the corner of Second Avenue and North Main Street, and two more to the north of it.
Today, the Austin Port Authority, the city’s economic-development arm, will consider the project’s funding concept, which proposes to include a no-interest loan from the city for 15 years. A portion of the loan would be funds received two years ago by the Port Authority when it sold the Town Center downtown to Bradley and his sisters.
If the Port Authority approves the concept, the nonprofit Austin Main Street Project and Bradley will move forward with getting quotes on the work, said Jim Hurm, city administrator. A final agreement would come before the Port Authority later, he said.
Port Authority has indicated interest in reinvesting funds from the Town Center’s sale into one or more downtown projects, Hurm said. Main Street Project has identified the Bradley project as its current priority for upgrades, he wrote.
The proposal is for Port Authority to approve the idea of giving Bradley a no-interest loan for between $115,000 and $150,000. The loan would help Main Street Project complete its top priority and a "downtown eyesore would be transferred into an attractive centerpiece," he stated in a memo.
The project will help make Bradley’s properties more attractive to potential leasers, said Sarah Douty, Main Street Project’s coordinator. The back alley area would be built out as a two-story open lobby area with restrooms, she said.
Hurm said that the city spent a lot of money to revitalize the Town Center and that the current plan would be much less of an investment to help downtown.
At some point, the elevator could provide access for commercial or residential uses on the second floors of adjacent buildings not owned by Bradley along North Main, officials say.
Other items under consideration — but not included in the project’s budget estimate — are an outdoor bar on top of the Bakery and a small plaza area outside of the new elevator lobby.
Out of Bradley’s string of five properties, only two have businesses — Mickey’s Place and the Bakery.
Bradley described the need for an elevator as a "chicken-egg situation" in which it needs to be constructed for him to really talk more seriously with prospective tenants.
Bradley said he hopes that work can start this winter.