ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- The Mackrell building has stood at 413-415 East St. Germain Street since 1922.  It has had a lot of businesses in it over the past century but the new owner believes the best is yet to come for the building.

Moxie Ladies owner Marla Waseka bought the building earlier this year and is working on a complete renovation project.

She is starting with the second level which has four two-bedroom 1,000 square-foot apartments.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
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They are all getting their original hardwood floors refinished along with all new cabinetry and bathroom fixtures.  Waseka says she's also opening them up more so they keep their 1920s era charm but are more functional for today's living style.  Many of the fixtures have the look of the 1920s including the tub, sink and light fixtures.

Waseka's vision is for each apartment to have its own style.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
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The first apartment should be available to rent by early December with the goal of having all four finished and rented out by late spring.

The second phase of the project will be to work on the main level which will include bringing it up to code and a complete refresh.  Back in October Waseka was awarded a $60,000 Main Street grant that she says she plans to use on the main-level renovation.  It will be leased out as one larger business on the whole level, or as two separate smaller businesses.

The second phase will likely begin in the late spring or early summer of next year.

Waseka's company is in the home renovation business and she says this is by far the biggest project she has taken on.  The Building is 12,000 square feet in total.  She says she was looking to buy a building specifically on East St. Germain Street.

I just love the east side.  I think there is so much potential here.  I see East St. Germain Street being an arts district like what you might see in northeast Minneapolis, with old buildings that are all unique and well-kept.

She says she firmly believes she's getting in on the very early stages of a renaissance of St. Cloud's east side and envisions a future with restaurants, bars, and shops all within walking distance of each other. She wants East St. Germain Street to become a destination street.

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Waseka has been looking into the history of the 100-year-old building and believes there was a speakeasy in it during prohibition.  It also was a Coast-to-Coast Store and St. Cloud Stamp and Sign for a long time.

The Benton County Historical Society records also show Liberty Cafe was there for about 20 years in the 1930s and 1940s.  A newspaper ad said they were offering 4 big nights of dances for free, with their famous southern fried chicken for .25 cents and a 10-ounce beer for a nickel.

Benton County Historical Society
Benton County Historical Society
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The Sauk Rapids Sentinel also moved into the building in 1944 and operated out of there for a long time.  And, Place of Hope ministries also got its start in that building.

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