New warehouse conversion adaptive reuse design for Vandalia Glassworks

PlanForce is helping the owners of Vandalia Glassworks expand to a new, larger space on Concord Exchange in South St. Paul. Established in 2015 in St. Paul, Vandalia Glassworks is an art glass studio owned and operated by local artists who specialize in both hot and cold glass-making techniques. Each work created at the glass studio is a custom, hand-made piece of art. These pieces range from vases and sculptures to ornaments and fused glass objects, to name just a few.

Their new site is the former location of Hitching Post Motorsports, and on Monday, September 17, the South St. Paul City Council granted the studio a conditional-use permit to operate in the building. The business has grown quickly and is now in need of additional space to accommodate the demand for the studio, as well as for expanded educational opportunities. “We do a lot more classes for community (education),” said co-owner Erick Schmidt. “We have larger groups coming in.”

Vandalia Glassworks turned to PlanForce to help transform and revitalize the currently vacant building. In the new adaptive reuse design, the front façade will be updated with modern styling and materials. Doors and windows will be updated and relocated to accommodate the two separate tenant spaces within the building. In addition, the sidewalk will be removed and replaced with planters and landscape beds. These changes, in conjunction with new outdoor seating, will serve to soften the streetscape and provide an amenity to the property and neighborhood, making it more pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing.

I think it’s going to be a great asset to the city. It’s fun and it’ll be entertainment, as well as a cultural piece.

Lori Hansen, Council Member, South St. Paul

The interior of the warehouse conversion will also be completely renovated, and a new tenant space will be created is the southeast corner of the building in anticipation of attracting a new restaurant user. Within the Vandalia Glassworks space, there will be several distinct functions. At the street side they will have an art gallery that will serve as exhibition space for local and guest artists, as well as retail space for the art created on site. The gallery will open to the street façade with large expanses of glass to engage the public and encourage them to explore the space further. On the opposite side of the gallery, there will be a connection and views to the studio space, where the art is created.

According to a story in Tuesday’s Pioneer Press by Nick Ferraro, City Council Member Lori Hansen praised the space as a good idea for the former motorsports building and a benefit to the area. “I think it’s going to be a great asset to the city,” she said. “It’s fun and it’ll be entertainment, as well as a cultural piece.”

Vandalia Glassworks opened three years ago in the renovated Vandalia Tower — the former King Koil mattress factory that has become a destination for the artsy crowd — which was also designed by PlanForce. Other Vandalia Tower tenants include Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop, FilmNorth, Gremlin Theater, and Lake Monster Brewery.

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