New Brooklyn Center Apartments Preserve Earle Brown History
The owners of the Lux Apartments in Brooklyn Center saw value in saving a piece of the past connecting them to Brooklyn Center’s heritage.
In 1926 Earle Brown built his office building on the grounds of the Earle Brown Farm in Brooklyn Center. It served as a headquarters for all of the farms activities and also as office space during his time as Hennepin County Sheriff and while he organized the Minnesota Highway Patrol.
Last year the building and the tower, which was the former Earle Brown Terrace senior living, were sold. The reimagining into The Lux apartments began. That’s when project manager Chris Kohler became fascinated with the history of Earle Brown.
“So what we wanted to do was to bring Earle Brown into obviously this building that he built. But make everybody aware of who he was and how neat of a guy he was,” Kohler said.
Designer Steven Heili was brought in.
“This was the most challenging part of it,” said Heili. “And I would say because of that reason, this probably is my favorite part, because it is probably is the part that worried me the most.”
It was decided to turn the Brown office building into the leasing office and shared amenity space for residents at The Lux.
“We decided that we really wanted to do a vintage industrial glam mix,” said Heili.
Preserving Distinctive Features
The old Brown building had a lot of distinctive features such as a walk-in safe. Now it’s turned into a karaoke room complete with LED lights on the ceiling.
Kohler said, “We did a mural of Earle Brown actually smashing a still circa 1926, so what a fitting poster to have up so that when everyone comes in here for the first time they are greeted by Earle Brown whose office was actually on the other side of the wall right there.”
That office became The Lux home theater.
“A Big Risk”
Renovation and saving the 1926 building was a costly endeavor. It would have probably been less expensive to just bulldoze the building and build a leasing office and all the other amenity areas from scratch.
“It was a big risk and I think it paid off, because if we hadn’t done it, no matter what is on the interior, and how beautiful it is, I think everybody here would have looked at this property and said, ‘Oh that’s the Earle Brown senior center or senior building,'” said Heili.
The Lux Apartments opened last fall and is at full capacity with a waiting list. They plan to have a grand opening later this year.