Star | Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota

Plans on tap for Hamm's brew site

Nonprofit organizers want to revamp the historic site on St. Paul's East Side for an Asian cultural center.

By Curt Brown, Star Tribune
Last update: May 20, 2007 – 8:33 PM

Ever since Stroh's turned off the beer tap 10 years ago, the old Hamm's brew house on St. Paul's East Side has sat idle.

But if a determined group of nonprofit organizers has its way, some of the historic buildings will be retrofitted as a $15 million Asian cultural center with a theater, banquet hall and office space for other nonprofits.

The Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC), after failing to fly on University Avenue two years ago, is gaining momentum in its quest to move from vision to reality, community leaders say. Supporters will showcase their plans at a community forum at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Great Hall at Metropolitan State University.

"I like the project because it's an adaptive re-use of a really important structure that could serve as a hub on the East Side," said City Council President Kathy Lantry, whose ward includes the old brewery.

Unlike the scuttled plans on University and Dale Street, which ran into neighborhood objections, the revamped plan has at least two major factors going for it: site control and seed money.

While private businessman Howard Gelb owns the northern portion of the brewery campus, the city controls the buildings south of Minnehaha Avenue near Swede Hollow. City planners have granted the APCC tentative developer status, and the state has added in $400,000 for planning.

"That means the Legislature wants this to succeed," Lantry said. "And I hope it does because it would pave the way for large, odd spaces to be preserved and reused to become assets for a neighborhood again."

© 2007 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

linkPage 2 "...Plans on tap for Hamm's brew site"

Community forum

Open house to share plans to reuse the old Hamm's Brewery on St. Paul's East Side as an Asian Pacific Cultural Center.
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Where: Great Hall, Metropolitan State University, 700 E. 7th St., St. Paul.
What will happen: Comments from Mayor Chris Coleman and other leaders, free folk dancing, visual artists and a performance of qeej music, a traditional Hmong reed instrument.

      Copyright © 2008 Asian Pacific Cultural Center. All rights reserved.