Security upgrades considered for abandoned Bryn Mawr mill

There's been an uptick in trespassing this spring at the Fruel Mill in Bryn Mawr, police say. They are working with the property owner on safety improvements and say people who are caught trespassing will be arrested.

A rash of trespassing calls at an abandoned 19th-century mill near Utepils Brewing has Minneapolis police working with the property owner on security improvements. The Bryn Mawr mill been the site of serious injuries and at least one death.

Police have asked the owners of the Fruen Mill, Haig Newton and Chris Jahnke, to look into purchasing security cameras, Fourth Precinct crime prevention specialist Torie Stone said.

They’ve also been in contact with the city’s fire inspection services department, which oversees abandoned properties, about requiring safety improvements such as fencing.

Police don’t have power to enforce those recommendations, Stone said.

Fruen Mill, located next to Bassett Creek, has been abandoned for decades. Its windows are cracked and shattered, its graffiti-lined walls are crumbling, its basement is filled with water and there are holes in the floor.

Four people fell at the mill between 2005 and 2015, according to the Star Tribune. That included a 32-year-old man who died after falling through a hole in the floor and an 18-year-old who survived a 70-foot fall.

“There’s nothing safe about this building,” officer Mike Nimlos said.

Nimlos said trespassing on the site has been “out of control” this year. Kids cut through the fencing and break boarded windows to get into the mill, he said, and they have damaged a security camera on the site.

He said officers wouldn’t be able to immediately rescue a person who fell inside the building because it is dangerous.

Past plans to convert the mill into condos never materialized. Newton and Jahnke, who also own the adjacent Glenwood Inglewood office campus that’s home to Utepils Brewing, bought the mill for $700,000 in 2016 with plans to build housing there. They didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Police spokesman John Elder said people should not enter abandoned buildings.

The Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association encourages people to call 911 if they see trespassers.