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There has been a lot of speculation about the fate of the old Schmidt Brewery. Once a bustling brewery, employing over 400 workers, it has been sitting vacant since 2004. Council Member Dave Thune describes it as a "symbol of the Seventh Street community. We want to bring life and liveliness back into the neighborhood". When he heard of the development proposal from Jeff and Craig Cohen, who finalized their purchase of the 100,000-square-foot, 15-acre complex in January, Dave considered this a welcomed opportunity. This project would be similar to the Carleton Artist Lofts on University Avenue in St. Paul.

Their plan is to create an urban village, named Brew Town. Preserving the historic design, they would refurbish the castle-like structure, transforming it into150 live-work spaces for artists, a series of retail shops, offices, additional housing, and eventually the addition of restaurants and a hotel. The project will include pedestrian-friendly amenities catering to local basic needs such as grocers, cleaners, and theaters.

This $25 million project is designed to preserve this community icon and revitalize the area. The area currently has a thriving arts community, but affordable housing for artists is hard to come by. This project will fill a definite need. The Seventh Street neighborhood of St. Paul is described as an area with a lot of potential, and The Brewery Lofts may set the pace for future developments as well. The Cohen's also plan on incorporating green space and an environmentally-friendly design into the project. Many challenges exist with the restoration of this unique structure including the preservation of its caves, artesian wells and many historical artifacts.

Jeff Cohen is a nationally renowned Washington architect, who is teaming up with his son Craig for this project. Some of his other noted developments include the Waterview at Bayside Portland Maine Luxury Condominiums, and the Maine Lakefront Homes at Sanctuary Cove. He enjoys creating buildings that look like they're part of the neighborhood. In his words "I've developed projects with a few residences and others with hundreds," Cohen says. "They all involve the creation of first-class living space. The buildings I develop must be something that I would want to live in myself."

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