Community Planning & Economic Development

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Mill City Museum in the Washburn Crosby complex

Between Portland and Chicago Avenues and
Second Street and West River Parkway

Visit the Mill City Museum website

The City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Historical Society and Brighton Development are working together to develop the Washburn Crosby complex. The overall goal is to have a mixed-use development comprised of the Mill City Museum, luxury condominiums and office space.

Constructed between 1878 and 1880, the complex was a grain processing operation for over a century. The city acquired the Washburn Crosby Complex in April 1992 and today it is a National Historic Landmark. This series of buildings is in the area known as the West Side Milling District, located on the downtown side of the Mississippi River between Fifth and Chicago avenues in Minneapolis.

Part of the restoration of the Washburn Crosby site was pollution remediation, which is completed. Cleanup included the removal and disposal of asbestos materials, lead paint and contaminated soil. Removal and disposal of uncontaminated debris as well as stabilization of the structures, which have been plagued by several fires in recent years, also took place in the cleanup.

This complex--which is adjacent to the North Star Lofts and the Stone Arch Lofts--consists of the Washburn Lofts, the Washburn Crosby "A" Mill, the Wheat House, the Humboldt Mill, a series of grain elevators, and several smaller structures. The city worked with the Minnesota Historical Society to create the innovative Mill City Museum and with Brighton Development to create commercial office space above the museum, along with new housing alternatives within the complex.

The main goal of the city in redeveloping this complex is to fill the buildings with residents and to draw people to the newly discovered downtown riverfront. In addition to the new housing alternatives that will be offered, the Mill City Museum features 70,000 square feet of floor space and is an integral element in achieving this objective.

A new 330-space parking ramp that will serve the Mill City Museum and offices will be constructed on Parcel D, which is across 2nd street from the Washburn Crosby complex. Parcel D extends from Washington Avenue to 2nd Street and from Portland to Chicago Avenue. As part of a larger vision for the area, mixed-use development consisting of commercial space, owner occupied housing, and both market rate and affordable rental housing is planned here.

Adjacent to the Washburn Crosby "A" Mill that will house the Mill City Museum, the Humboldt Lofts will consist of the existing Humboldt Mill and a new, adjacent structure. The Humboldt Lofts will house an additional 6700 square feet of commercial space along with 40 luxury condominiums, a common lobby and structured (partially underground and partially above ground) parking. The commercial spaces will front 2nd Street.

Not only will the Washburn Crosby complex provide an unprecedented glimpse into Minneapolis’ past, but it will also provide a new housing choice for Minneapolis’ future.


Minnesota Historical Society and Brighton Development Corp.


$28 million Minnesota Historical Society

$1.6 million City, DTED, Met Council

Total Development Cost: 

$60 million


65 structured spaces

330-space public ramp

Proposed Development:

70,000 square feet (museum space)

6,700 square feet  (commercial space)

40 luxury condominiums

Renovation Began: 

Fall 2000

Expected Completion: 

Fall 2002


CPED Project Coordinator Dick Victor (612) 673-5026.

June 2001

Last updated Oct 28, 2011



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