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After 14 years of planning and more than a couple of setbacks, the Confluence Hotel in downtown Hastings will be open to the public starting next month.
What used to be the H.D. Hudson Manufacturing plant on the banks of the Mississippi River is now home to a boutique hotel with 77 guest rooms, nine apartment-style rooms, a bar and restaurant and a banquet hall, said the Confluence’s general manager, Deanna Payne.
Located at 200 Second Street W., near where the Mississippi and the St. Croix rivers merge, the 100,000-square-foot building was used for more than 100 years to manufacture handheld compression sprayers.
In 2010, the property was acquired by the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority for nearly $3 million and put to a vote: tear it down or rehabilitate it?
“The public overwhelmingly wanted the building to be rehabilitated,” said John Hinzman, Hastings’ community development director.
Rehabilitating a property that manufactured commercial sprayers for public health and lawn and garden since 1907 was no small task.
The bulk of the environmental cleanup took place from 2012 to 2017, Hinzman said, and included removing contaminants from the building and the surrounding soil.
The cleanup of the property cost around $2.5 million, Hinzman said, including $2 million in grants from the Metropolitan Council, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Shortly after the cleanup efforts, in 2018 Confluence Development won the bid to develop the historic parcel with Hastings resident and businessman Pat Regan and co-developer Mike Mattingly at the helm of the $30 million project.
A significant part of the project’s funding came from state and federal historic tax credits, Regan said, which were used to maintain and rehabilitate the building’s original architecture.
At the beginning of the project, Regan worked with Bill Weyland from Kentucky-based City Properties Group, which has experience rehabbing historic properties like the original H&B Louisville Slugger manufacturing plant.
A specialist in tax credit historic preservations, Weyland played a large part in securing the developer bid, Regan said.
Following significant construction delays brought on by the pandemic, Regan said Weyland departed amicably to focus on projects in Louisville.
Labor shortages and supply-chain issues plagued many industries during the start of the pandemic, but Regan said the hospitality sector was hit especially hard. “We had full start approval from lenders, the state historic preservation office and the city and COVID hit a day or two later,” Regan said. “We had to start from scratch on a lot of our planning and finance strategies.”
The Confluence was able to meet historic preservation standards through a laundry list of tasks, Regan said, including rehabbing more than 300 original windows.
“The historic preservation criteria required that we remove the windows and have them rebuilt rather than replaced,” Regan said, “even though we could replicate the exact original windows.”
Other preservation measures included keeping parts of the building’s insulation to four inches thick, even though today’s standard insulation measures seven or eight inches thick, Regan said.
Inside the building, roof trusses, floor trusses and steel and wood columns are visible, showcasing how the building’s architecture evolved throughout the decades.
Although the building has all new floors, Regan said the original diamond-plate flooring can still be found throughout the hotel in inconspicuous places like shelf brackets and door jams, adding to the character of the former industrial building.
The wood from the original floor beams was salvaged and repurposed into shelves, Regan said, and also used in the hotel’s grand staircase that leads to the lobby.
The Confluence Hotel is not only the largest project of Regan’s career, but also a family affair. The project was completed with the help of his wife, Mary, their four children and 13 grandchildren. Bill Weyland is also family, Regan said, as his son, Kent, married Regan’s daughter Meghan. Mattingly, Regan’s partner, is also a son-in-law, married to his daughter Angela.
“It feels great, we are very excited,” he said.
In addition to the family ties, Regan said the construction team for the Confluence included talented woodworkers, plumbers, and HVAC, electrical and design professionals.
“The designers have done a stunning job,” Regan said. “The design details and the finishes in the building are hard to describe. … They are fantastic.”
The logo of the Confluence Hotel is a cupola, a nod to the original factory and its roots in Hastings. The Confluence still sports many of the original dome-like cupolas along its roofline.
“It celebrates the people who worked here over the 110 years of the Hudson Manufacturing Company,” Regan said.
Inside the Confluence
Managed by IDM Hospitality, the Confluence’s 77 guest rooms average 475 square feet and showcase the building’s original architecture, including exposed beams, cathedral ceilings and exposed brick walls.
Nine of the guest rooms are “lifestyle suites” with full kitchens, Payne said. The second floor of the building’s north wing is reserved for apartment-style residences that overlook the river and range from studios to two-bedrooms.
Applications for the apartments have not opened yet, although Payne said they have already garnered a lot of interest due to the size and the views they provide of the river and the U.S. 61 bridge.
The in-hotel restaurant, Missi’s Sip & Savor, will be open to guests and the public and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner inspired by New American flavors and seasonal Midwest ingredients.
An official start date has not been set for service at Missi’s, but it when it does open, the restaurant will start by serving breakfast and lunch with dinner service rolling out closer to October, Payne estimated.
The restaurant and bar, which seats about 145 patrons indoors and another 40 in the back yard, also boasts one of the state’s few Mibrasa charcoal solid fuel grills, Payne said. Made in Spain for the hospitality sector, Mibrasa ovens retain the flavor profile of traditional grills.
Coming in at about 6,000 square feet, the hotel’s banquet space, also known as the Ballroom, is a first of its size for downtown Hastings. Payne said they are anticipating weddings and conferences to be held in the space and have the ability to provide plated dinners for up to 300 people.
On nearly all sides of the building, the Confluence also has outdoor space that will be outfitted for outdoor dining with a garage door-style walk-up bar. Other outdoor spaces include a courtyard and green space that could be used for live music or a yoga class, Payne said.
‘Anchor in the community’
One of the goals for the Confluence is to enmesh in the local community, Payne said. One way they plan to do that is by partnering with downtown Hastings’ Spiral Brewery, located just down the street from the hotel. Missi’s Sip & Savor will feature its own custom-made beer from the brewery, Payne said.
The Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau will also have its main offices at the Confluence, said President Kristy Barse. “The Confluence is going to bring in a lot of tourism traffic and they will be an important part of our community,” she said.
The Chamber of Commerce was looking to relocate to the city’s historic downtown, Barse said, and the Confluence makes for a perfect fit given its location, private conference room and spacious banquet hall. “The new banquet center gives us the opportunity to recruit larger conferences and tourism events that we couldn’t in the past,” Barse said.
“We refer to ourselves as an anchor in the community and a bookend of the downtown,” Payne said of the roughly 55-person hotel staff.
The Confluence will be a part of the community in as many ways as it can, Payne said, including participating in Gobble Gait, the city’s Thanksgiving Day run, and Rivertown Days.
Payne, who has been in the hospitality industry for 20 years, said the Confluence stands out because of the building’s storied past. “So many families have been a part of it in so many ways,” she said. “The community is making this project unique and it’s an emotional investment to be a part of.”