THE WEDGE — The Brave New Workshop’s base of operations for most of five decades is being offered for sale.
The 2605 Hennepin Ave. S. space was the comedy theater’s main performance venue until 2011, when husband-and-wife co-owners Jenni Lilledahl and John Sweeney purchased the former Hennepin Stages theater and moved main stage productions downtown. Now known as the Student Union, the Uptown location is mainly used for classes and weekend performances by improvisation and acting students.
Sweeney said the theater has leased the Uptown space since Nov. 30, 1965 — about seven years after Dudley Riggs founded Brave New Workshop — and that it had changed hands one or two times in the decades since. Sweeney said the posting of “for sale” signs around the start of February “wasn’t necessarily expected,” but anticipated a new owner would renew the theater’s lease.
“I’m assuming that if they sell the building … then we’ll just send our checks to a different address,” he said.
Richard Kohn of Cumberland, Wis. owns the 1909 building, according to Hennepin County property tax records. The county database does not include information on when the property was last sold, but lists the current value of the land and building at $575,000.
The 2012 tax bill for the property was $24,375.02.
Kohn did not immediately respond to voicemails left at his residence. Sweeney said he had not spoken with Kohn since the “for sale” signs were posted.
Sweeney said it was unlikely he and Lilledahl would put in a bid for the building. If a sale should occur, he said his best-case scenario would be for the new owner to renew the Brave New Workshop’s lease and make some needed improvements to the building.
“Obviously we’ve got a big place in our heart for that building,” he said.