Two designers are transforming the former Gaytee Stained Glass property at 2744 Lyndale Ave. S. into a co-working community space adjoining a sky-lit garden and restaurant. And they’re keeping the stained glass.
“A lot of this was about uncovering, not building,” said Heather Rose-Dunning. “…When you go into old buildings, you have to find the soul.”
A former alleyway-turned-garage will become an indoor garden and lounge with a 40-by-10-foot skylight, year-round greenery and a fenced “front porch” overlooking the sidewalk. A building to the south formerly home to Training for Life will become a restaurant. And co-working space will include a basement workshop and sunny communal work areas, with Gaytee’s stained glass reappearing throughout the building.
The designers and owners of the project are Rose-Dunning and Kim Batcheller, the partners behind Yellow Dog Studio. On the September day they purchased the building, they opened a bottle of champagne on the front stoop and fielded questions about the building from curious passersby.
“I feel like this building has been sleeping for a long time,” Batcheller said.
They envision Scout Workshop as a values-driven co-working space for creative-minded people in all fields. They’re seeking people who are “not assholes,” want to help other people succeed, and are game for collaboration throughout the day. An attorney could use the space for pro bono side projects, they said, or a contractor could use the workshop for a personal hobby making aprons (one such person is interested).
Visitors will enter to find a neon sign and Paul Wellstone’s quote: “We all do better when we all do better,” followed by a library of materials to peruse. Gaytee’s stained glass pieces will appear in alcoves, over windows and in the ceiling. They’re planning CSA drops, sit/stand desks, indoor bike storage, a shower, a kitchen, a big mailroom, a “Stranger Things”-inspired Upside Down wall, and a “kitty cat couch” for curling up. While they encourage members to collaborate, they will provide quiet corners as well.
They’re working to sign a lease with a local restaurateur, which would open in the months following Scout Workshop’s winter launch. In the evenings, the restaurant would take over the indoor garden space.
“The good news is we get to design it,” Rose-Dunning said.
Yellow Dog Studio’s work appears throughout Minneapolis in projects like the Moxy Hotel, Libertine, the Chino Latino renovation and the downtown offices of Lindquist & Vennum. Batcheller and Rose-Dunning have worked together since 2007, starting at 20 Below Studio. After a larger firm took over the studio, they realized they missed small-firm life and formed their own shop in 2015, becoming the sole partners.
“There are a lot of people out there like us, who like to do their own thing, but want to be part of a community,” Batcheller said.
While searching for new space, they targeted blocks they liked and knocked on all the doors, and sent their agent photos of abandoned buildings they liked. They wanted to locate near the Greenway and near Uptown — Rose-Dunning has lived in Uptown for 20 years, and Batcheller grew up in the area.
As they focused their efforts on the LynLake neighborhood, one door they knocked was the Gaytee building.
Gaytee Stained Glass was founded in 1918, working on custom projects for the Basilica of St. Mary and Central Lutheran Church, and in more recent years, restoration projects at the Minnesota State Capitol. The business operated at 2744 Lyndale starting in 1974, according to testimony recorded by the City of Minneapolis.
When former owner John Salisbury retired and sold the business, he hung on to the building, the designers said. Salisbury continued using the building for his personal office, filling it with taxidermy, model ships and newspaper archives dating to Kennedy’s assassination. In selling the building, Salisbury left behind “wonderful artifacts” like stained glass pieces and gargoyles.
The designers are currently giving tours of the building to prospective members, and they expect to open the doors in March.