What is historic on the outside may look like it was built in the 1980s on the inside. There must have been a lot of condo conversions in the 80s.
The original woodwork was replaced with blond oak and the floors are carpeted. The “old world” charm can not be found on the inside. In fact, sometimes there isn’t anything charming about the interior.
There are several buildings in downtown St. Paul that were factories or warehouses that were converted into condos. The kitchens are all new but the buildings still have exposed brick and timber. They retain their historic charm.
The developers restored unique historic features rather than just gutting the building and starting over. River Park Lofts, The Great Northern, and the Rossmor in downtown St. Paul were all converted from industrial buildings to condos while retaining original walls, windows, ceilings, and flooring.
Some of our historic buildings are disappointing on the inside because they were chopped up and made into small apartments that don’t make sense. Who wants a north facing condo with one window? The original flooring is gone and brick walls are covered with drywall.
Historic preservation districts have rules about how the outside of a building has to look but no rules about the inside. You can’t judge a building by how it looks on the outside.