The Falls Event Center in Gilbert, AZ
The Falls Event Center in Gilbert, AZ

By Nicole Norfleet

The historic Chimneys at Energy Park railroad complex will soon be converted into a St. Paul event center.

The facility, located on Energy Park Drive near the Bandana Square office center, was purchased for $1.75 million, according to a recent electronic certificate of real estate value.

The 22,400-square-foot building constructed in 1885 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Chimneys will be renovated this summer and reopened as an event space by the end of this year, said Neal Bergstrom, chief operating officer of the Falls Event Center, the Utah-based company that purchased the building.

“It’s such a charming building,” Bergstrom said. “As we looked at the exposed timbers and exposed brick … it just felt like a natural fit for us.”

The Chimneys is similar to other renovations the company have completed in Salt Lake City and Oklahoma City, he said.

The refurbishment is expected to preserve the building’s features, including several distinctive chimneys along the edges of its pitched roof.

“It is very important for us to maintain the look and feel of that space,” Bergstrom said.

Plans call for a main banquet space that can fit as many as 300 guests on the second floor and other meeting spaces on the first floor. A courtyard will be built between the main building and an auxiliary building.

The Chimneys used to be the blacksmith shop of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1984, the building was converted into the Minnesota Children’s Museum, which has since moved to downtown St. Paul.

The building was sold by John and Ellen Dustman. John Dustman is listed on online network LinkedIn as co-founder of Summit Envirosolutions Inc., which has its offices at the building. According to Minnesota secretary of state records, John Dustman is also the registered agent of O.L.E. Enterprises that has been marketing the property.

The Falls has 14 event centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Utah. The Chimneys will be its first Minnesota location. The Falls centers have open vendor policies that allow customers to use their own selected vendors.

The Falls provided space for corporate and social events, including weddings. The company hopes to have about 200 locations open by 2022 including more in the Twin Cities.

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