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Preserving the Past, Building the Future: Historic Flooring Restoration at Fort Snelling.

Time affects everything, including important historical sites like Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minnesota. Recently H2I Group, in partnership with Weis Builders, restored Fort Snelling’s historic Upper Post Flats into a vibrant, affordable community for veterans and others in need.

Preserving History and Enhancing Lives

The Upper Post Flats project is a transformative initiative that had the goal of converting old military housing units and buildings into 191 affordable, stylish apartments. These apartments feature a unique blend of modern amenities interwoven with preserved historical details like the original hardwood flooring and exposed brick.

Renovated Apartment
A renovated apartment located at Upper Post Flats.

This project’s primary goal was to preserve the historic architecture and provide affordable housing to veterans and others in need. Additionally, the project mitigated noise pollution from the nearby airport and addressed health hazards like lead paint, asbestos, and contaminated soil.

A Step Back in Time: The Historic Fort Snelling Upper Post Site

Originally built in 1879, the Fort Snelling Upper Post Site was a center for military intelligence and later became a rehabilitation center for wounded veterans. After it was decommissioned in 1946, the buildings were transferred to the Department of Natural Resources. However, as years rolled by, they fell into severe disrepair, so much so that it was named one of the most endangered places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Historic Flooring Restoration At Fort Snelling
An aerial blueprint of Fort Snelling, Minnesota from 1950, featuring prominent landmarks such as Taylor Ave. (located in the lower left section) amongst other streets of the Upper Post. Image Source: Minnesota Historical Society.

H2I Group’s Role: Restoration and Preservation 

Stepping up to the challenge, H2I Group was tasked with the meticulous renovation and preservation of the historic hardwood flooring. Our approach was clear: salvage and restore as much of the original flooring as possible, supplementing it with new flooring only when absolutely necessary.

But the path of restoration is rarely smooth. In 2022, Building 53, an old officers’ building, tragically caught fire, resulting in substantial damage. Despite the setback, the H2I Group team saw an opportunity in this obstacle. We salvaged the intact hardwood flooring from the wreckage, dried it out, and prepared it for reintroduction into the building once repairs were complete. This effort demonstrated our unwavering commitment to historical preservation, even when faced with formidable challenges.

Lab Furniture Manufacturers
Preserving the historical authenticity of the space, original flooring harmoniously intertwines with newly installed hardwood throughout the renovated apartments.
General Contractor And Subcontractor
During the Women in Construction Week 2023, Weis Builders and H2I Group proudly showcased the ongoing construction efforts at Upper Post Flats and Building 53, showcasing project resilience post-fire, with signs of the incident still visible outside the windows.

A Historic Success Story

Today, the project is in its final stages, with the first residents already enjoying the modern comforts nested within historical charm. This incredible transformation stands as a testament to H2I Group’s commitment to preserving history, promoting safety, and enhancing community living. We’ve successfully navigated many hours and long days on site without a single worker injured, a clear demonstration of our unwavering commitment to safety.

The restored Upper Post Flats stands as more than a beacon of history and community; it’s an embodiment of H2I Group’s dedication to building better futures from the storied bricks of the past. As we continue our journey, we look forward to delivering more such success stories, honoring history while creating vibrant, safe, and inclusive living spaces.

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