Pillsbury A Mill (National Historic Landmark): Energy Center and Tunnels

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
City of Minneapolis
Start Date
April 2010
End Date
August 2010
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview

The East Bank Energy Center would re-use existing, historic tunnels and drop shafts attached to the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill building to produce hydrothermal energy for heating and cooling. The existing tunnels would contain flat plate heat exchangers and the drop shafts would contain turbines. These technologies would replace traditional heating and cooling systems to serve the A Mill and a community micro-grid. This application seeks funding for the consultant who will perform an initial site visit and recommend a scope for a larger study. They will assess what components will be needed in order to perform a comprehensive analysis of the historic and structural condition of the tunnels.

The legacy grant study by Mead & Hunt evaluates the Pillsbury A Mill historic tunnel system and plans for its preservation and re-use through a renewable energy center. The historic tunnel system is a resource that has remained relatively unknown and hidden. Through preservation and re-use the historic tunnel system will become an important historical site providing a statewide model for incorporating both renewable and sustainable technologies, and preservation within a re-use project.

The Legacy grant funded work will assist in the design, development, and implementation of the renewable energy center. The renewable energy center will act as a significant redevelopment tool for the larger historic preservation project. In addition to providing a significant environmental benefit, the energy center will entice additional interest and financing in the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill building and associated historic structures, thus supporting the larger goal .of rehabilitation and preservation of the historic complex. The renewable energy center, preserved A Mill building and tunnels, and statewide made that together they provide will be further amplified by the potential historic interpretation and public access opportunities at the site. Significant public benefit will come from educational and interpretive exhibits that will highlight both past water power technologies used for milling and current renewable technologies, highlighting both similarities and differences and linking the present with the past. These public educational benefits of the renewable energy center will create educational opportunities and a connection to the Minneapolis's milling past for future generations.

Project Details
To determine reuse of historic tunnels and drop shafts to produce hydrothermal energy for heating cooling
Legal Citation / Subdivision
LAWS of MINNESOTA for 2009 Ch. 172, Art. 1, Subd. 4 (b), Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants
Appropriation Language

(b) Statewide Historic and Cultural Grants. (i) $2,250,000 in 2010 and $4,500,000 in 2011 are appropriated for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional or other historical or cultural organizations; or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources. Funds are to be distributed through a competitive grants process. The Minnesota Historical Society shall administer these funds using established grants mechanisms, and with assistance from the advisory committee created herein.

2010 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Street Address
East Bank Energy, LLC/Schafer Richardson, Inc., 615 First Ave. NE, Ste. 500
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155