by CHRIS ROGERS
The historic Exchange Building in downtown Winona will soon have a new life after being sold to a development company that plans to remodel the office building into apartments and Airbnb-style rentals.
Last month, former owners Chase and Wendy Hoffman sold the Exchange Building for $1.3 million to Winona Real Estate GP, a company registered to Northfield, Minn.,-based real estate company Rebound Partners.
Rebound Partners President Lori Bonin and Peter Shortridge of Winona-based Latsch Development said their companies recently formed Winona Real Estate as a community real estate fund with plans to renovate the Exchange Building, utilizing historic preservation tax credits to restore the National Register of Historic Places-listed property originally built in 1900. Bonin described this as the first of more projects to come, saying the fund would look to make impact investments and build on the momentum in Winona’s downtown.
“It’s one of the most historically important buildings in Winona as far as the lumber history and the economic, social history,” Shortridge said. “The building is rock solid. It’s built with heavy timber … but it’s in need of a strong refreshing. So we’re going to go through and do all-new electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing.”
The company’s plans are to convert the building’s offices into 28-30 apartment units and rent half of them as Airbnb-style short-term rentals.
“We’re really excited about the building and the project and that’s really what got, as a team, all of us excited about it,” Bonin said. “The Latsch Development, Riverfront Partners team, specifically Peter, have a ton of historic redevelopment experience, and we do as well.” As for the Exchange Building itself, she added, “We’re really looking forward to how we can highlight some of the features, like there’s some safes inside … I think just trying to figure out how we can honor some of that, as well, will be really important.”
According to real estate transaction records, the Rebound-Latsch partnership listed the planned future use of the Exchange Building as “residential / apartment” and “lodging / hotels / motels / limited service.” While boutique hotels in historic buildings are one of Rebound Partners’ specialties, Shortridge said lodging was a reference to the Airbnb units and a hotel was not part of the plans for the building. “We’re not going to be operating as a classic hotel, it’ll be operating as more of a hybrid apartment/Airbnb,” he told the Post.
“They are all going to be designed to be long-term apartments, and we’ll have half of them available for shorter Airbnb-type stays,” Shortridge continued. “The goal would be to have that on the market by the end of 2022.” He added, “The Airbnb market is really strong …….