Title: Richardson Place: A New Era for a Historic Building in Downtown New Ulm
Downtown New Ulm is experiencing a transformation, with several historic buildings being renovated and repurposed. One such building is 108 N. Minnesota Street, now known as Richardson Place. This article explores the rich history of the building and its transition into a professional office space hub.
Originally called the Erd building, this structure played a significant role during the Battle of New Ulm in 1862. It served as a refuge for women and children during the conflict, with the basement housing gunpowder reserves. While the need to detonate the gunpowder never arose, the building remained witness to the town’s resilience. Over the years, it underwent different names, including Eibners, after its owner, Willibald Eibner. Eibner transformed it into a restaurant, complete with a bakery and candy factory. However, a fire in 1936 led to the rebuilding of the front exterior in a modern style.
In late 2022, owner Ben Pieser, who previously owned New Ulm Furniture, decided to repurpose the building as Richardson Place. The decision came after his retirement and the desire for new office space for himself and his daughter, Betsy. Recognizing that they didn’t need the entire building, they saw an opportunity to cater to other professionals in the community.
Professional Office Space:
Richardson Place offers a variety of professional office spaces for rent, including board rooms, training rooms, and meeting locations. The original layout provided by the previous tenant, CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), was already segmented, making it easy to convert the building into individual suites for different businesses. Today, Richardson Place is home to ten businesses and organizations, including Insurance Leaders Agency, Brown County Yellow Ribbon, United Way of Brown County, Acquired Mental Health, New Om Shop, Principle Skills Relationship Center, Momentum Technology, Hidden Step Marketing, and Genevive Group.
A Community Hub:
Apart from office spaces, Richardson Place also features shared community areas such as conference rooms and kitchenettes. The building proudly displays sketches on its walls, showcasing its historic evolution. Ben Pieser wanted to create a community where professionals could come together and connect. With short-term rental options available, individuals who typically work from home can rent office space for specific needs. This flexibility appeals to those who may require a professional setting for client meetings or collaborative work.
The occupants of Richardson Place have embraced the benefits of a shared workspace. For instance, Sarah Kunard, owner of Genevive Group, previously ran her business from a home office but yearned for the opportunity to display sample products and meet clients in a separate space. Additionally, there is a social aspect to working at Richardson Place, as it allows individuals like Jessica Wesslemann from Momentum Technology to interact with others and engage in impromptu conversations in the communal areas.
Richardson Place not only breathes new life into a historic building in downtown New Ulm but also offers a thriving community for professionals in various fields. By existing as a collaborative space, it provides individuals with the flexibility they need while fostering connections and promoting local business growth. This revitalization project is a win-win for both the community and the historic charm of downtown New Ulm.