For nearly 70 years, The Regan Brothers Bakery operated at 643 5th Street North. The Regan brothers, William, John, and Joseph moved their bakery to 5th street in 1890, where it operated in business until 1966 when Pan-O-Gold Baking Company bought them out. Pan-O-Gold, a Minnesota business, is more well known for their brands Contry Hearth and Village Hearth.
The bakery was groundbreaking in its industry. Not only was it the first to use new innovative methods for receiving and handling flour in the region, it also was the first bakery to establish a system of buying flour and other ingredients according to quality. This was different than other bakeries who purchased their ingredients based on brand name or price. In addition to this, the Regan Brothers also installed testing laboratories and sold sliced bread. These innovations are said to be part of the quality standards that were set for the industry as sliced bread became more of a commodity market after World War I. Previous to this time, households made bread at home or purchased it from local bakeries.
Covering 59,509 square feet, the property is located in the shadows of newly built Target Field. The building was originally built in 1895 and expanded again in 1899. In 1909, the office building was added at the northeast corner. Finally, in 1920 the bakery expanded yet again to the south with the orange toned brick.
In 1957, Northern Auto Parts came in and opened up a recycling yard. The company bought abandoned or junk cars, and stripped them dry of parts and crushes them for scrap metal. Northern Auto has operated here ever since.
By 2003, the North Loop area had become a hot bed for new million dollar condos and development projects. Target Field opening in 2010 only added to increase property values. After 40 years in business and a long time property owner, Northern Auto Parts also wanted to expand his business. Previously, Northern Auto had been forced to bring in mobile car crushers and made the decision that to remain competitive in the market they would have to purchase their own car crushers . They presented to the city a request to allow permanent car crushers on the property. Approval of the request would also bring new jobs and support a local business operating in the neighborhood since 1957. After obtaining recommendations from the City Panning Commission, the North Loop Neighborhood Association along with a developer(who was snatching up loop property) appealed the recommendation. The City Council voted 10-2 to accept the appeal and deny Northern Auto Parts request. Along with Mayor Rybak, several council members said the car crushers would not be compatible with long-term redevelopment plans. Essentially, gentrification at it’s best.
Council Member Dean Zimmermann said that the additional crushers would make the company more efficient and that it does not represent an expansion of the current business. He said nearby residents are “trying to impose gentrification on the rest of us” even though a nearby freeway ramp already produces significant noise. We have no basis for denying this.”
Northern Auto closed it’s doors in 2009 after being denied by the City of Minneapolis the ability to expand their business onto land they owned. The city of Minneapolis condemned the building for lack of maintenance on October 1st, 2010. The building was required to register as vacant on July 18th, 2011.
It didn’t take long for new development to take over.
On May 23, 2012, the Community Planning and Economic Development staff responded to a demolition application by out of state developer John Carlson of Trammel Crow Company (Texas based real-estate development and investment firm). He was informed that the demolition of the building would require a Demolition of Historic Resource application because it appeared to meet the criteria for designation in section 599.210 of the Minneapolis City Ordinance.
A demolition of Historic Resource application was submitted on July 26th, 2012 with a proposal to build a 6-story 182 unit condo building. The applicant stated that the cost to rehabilitate the building was just not reasonable. On August 21st, 2012 the Heritage Preservation Commission voted to approve the demolition with the condition that the developer “incorporate interpretation of the bakery into the new development”.
The property will be demolished.