Plan to convert St. Paul fire house into brewery one step closer to reality

The defunct Station 10 St. Paul Fire House on Randolph

The defunct Station 10 Fire House on Randolph Avenue in the West Seventh neighborhood of St. Paul // Photo by Aaron Job, The Growler

[Update: 09-25-2018, 3:12pm]: Travis and Justine Temke’s proposal to repurpose the historic fire station on Randolph Avenue in St. Paul into a microbrewery and banquet hall could enter construction before the end of 2018 after getting approval on September 21 from the St. Paul Planning Commission, according to Finance & Commerce. To move forward, the project need sign-offs from the mayor’s office and a title transfer from the City Council.

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A new brewery and restaurant is in the early stages of planning after the St. Paul City Council granted Travis Temke tentative developer status over the old fire house Station 10, located at 754 Randolph Avenue in St. Paul. The area is otherwise known as the West Seventh neighborhood.

Those who follow Minnesota’s brewing industry may know Temke as the F-Town Brewing business and marketing manager. But this new business venture is a complete departure from the Faribault brewery.

“This is not F-Town being relocated,” Temke explains. “This is a whole new concept, with all new people in leadership positions (including a new, experienced brewer from the Twin Cities area).”

Aside from Temke, the only ties the new venture has to F-Town is that the equipment from the Faribault brewery will be going to the St. Paul venture. This seems to spell the end of operations for F-Town, which has been deferring its loan payments to the Faribault Economic Development Authority this year as a part of “an overall plan to assist in the ability for F-Town to continue to operate,” according to a letter from F-Town to the Faribault EDA. Temke was not able to publicly comment regarding F-Town’s future.

Though Temke cleared one major hurdle Wednesday, he said there is still a lot of work to do. After beating out about 50 other proposals for the site, he now has to make sure the concept for a brewery, restaurant, and coffee shop works.

Travis Temke at F-Town Brewing in Faribault, Minnesota in July of 2015 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg, The Growler

Travis Temke at F-Town Brewing in Faribault, Minnesota in July of 2015 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg, The Growler

“It [the developer status] allows me, as the developer, 180 days of discovery time, making sure the building will fit my purposes, making sure it allows me enough time for construction costs, making sure there aren’t any potential future issues with the site itself,” Temke said. “And then it also gives me enough time to finalize financing to close on a loan.

“Once that is established, then it transfers to full development status and it’s mine to purchase.”

Though Temke is working on the venture as M.O.E. Craft Co., the new establishment will be branded with a different name. The fire station is a 9,800-square-foot, two-story building that was originally built in 1885 before receiving a new addition in 1911. It was known as Station 10 and even served as a horse hospital. It was the oldest active fire station in St. Paul history until recently, remaining in service from 1885 to 2010.

Temke, who lives in St. Paul’s Ward 2, the same ward as the fire house, is excited to have a brewery not only where he lives, but one that will follow his explicit vision.

“What we’re doing is going to be reflective of my vision, my culture, and things that are important to me,” Temke said. “That will be reflective in the beer we make, food we create, and charitable things we do in the brewery. This new concept is more aligned with my vision.”

Coffee and education are parts of that vision.

“The coffee concept just made sense,” Temke said. “I drink as much coffee as I do beer. It makes sense to have a coffee concept in that neighborhood, and (there’s) the collaboration between the two beverages.”

As for the education portion, Temke cited Vine Park Brewing Co. as a successful model to follow when it comes to educating those who maybe don’t want to go pro, but want to up their skillset. He didn’t give out any specifics, but aims to help educate hobbyists.

As for now, the thought of revitalizing the neighborhood is appealing.

The exterior of Station 10, the hopeful future home of Travis Temke’s St. Paul venture // Photos by Aaron Job

“I’ve lived in that area for a long time,” Temke said. “Basically, what I’m trying to do is help revitalize that area, bringing back more retail and more traffic.”

West Seventh Street in St. Paul has seen an influx of new restaurants and businesses, such as Mucci’s and the North Garden Theater, in the last year. Redevelopment of the old Schmidt Brewery and the Keg & Case Market project are also helping ignite growth in the area.

And, if all goes according to plan, Temke’s new brewery and restaurant will soon add to the momentum.

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