Breathing New Life into Historical Buildings

Rafferty’s Original and Woodfired Pizza concept rendering.

Doug Arndt walked through downtown Crosby in northern Minnesota excited about the prospects for developing a property in this revitalized, vibrant district. Once a thriving mining town, Crosby has reinvented itself as a mountain biking mecca, known throughout the state and beyond for its edgy trail system.

A building caught Doug’s eye. Old and tired, it had seen better days, but Doug thought it an ideal location for a restaurant and lodging facility. He wondered how the building could ever be brought back to its glory and become a functional part of downtown again. He needed someone to help him realize the potential within this building—someone who could help him design his vision while working through the obstacles and red tape that an old building can present. Doug contacted Widseth Smith Nolting.


Exterior concept rendering. Rafferty’s Original and Woodfired Pizza below and Crosby Lofts above.
Patio improvements concept rendering.

Having experience revitalizing historical buildings into hospitality businesses, we knew what to do. We understand the value of reviving a building rich with history, the intrinsic value it can bring to a community, and the desire to repurpose it into something the community can benefit from.

Once our architects and engineers were on site with Doug, we saw the potential too, yet found it had inadequate electrical and water services, which was going to pose a challenge. This building had been used as retail space and apartments, so the building would need to be brought up to code based on its new uses. We worked with Scott Sadusky, Crosby Building Inspector, to transform Doug’s vision into concepts that abided by building codes and regulations.

Crosby Lofts concept rendering.

With Doug’s go-ahead, we finalized the design, produced construction documents, and scheduled construction to start this spring. WSN will continue to unravel any surprises that arise during the project, which can happen frequently with old buildings. Doug Arndt will open 30 West Main to the public this summer and we will be there for opening day and beyond.  Residents and visitors to Crosby will enjoy another quality restaurant, Rafferty’s Original and Woodfired Pizza, complete with space for meetings, and Crosby Lofts, a facility to help meet the demand for lodging that the mountain bike scene has brought to the area.

Contact architect Ashley Martel, NCARB, to help you navigate through the possibilities of what can be done with the historical building you have your eye on.