The Minneapolis Grain Exchange, which opened in 1881 in the city’s downtown, has moved tons of hard red wheat through its halls. The historic building functioned for many years as the ‘Wall Street” for grain, a bustling meeting place in which buyers and sellers traded, purchased and hawked this starchy staple. Renowned for its beautiful architecture, the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building caught the spotlight for a different reason in December: a cold-water supply line burst on the seventh floor in what is now vacant office space.

Paul Davis of Greater St. Paul and Minneapolis leapt into action. “Fortunately, property maintenance was able to clean up standing water and stop the leak. But the building required immediate mitigation and drying to protect historic and irreplaceable elements below the seventh floor,” says Garrett Fuchs, Operations Manager. The leak occurred directly above the cavernous Trading Room on the fourth floor, which featured soaring vaulted ceilings where the fifth and sixth floors would have been in a typical multistory structure. Water had penetrated the ceiling, soaked the plaster and leaked through onto the gleaming hardwood floors of the trading space. 

“Often, technicians encapsulate a water-damaged area to facilitate drying, but this space was too large at nearly 17,000 cubic meters,” Fuchs continues. “Our team adapted the drying process to suit.” Technicians set up temporary heat to raise the indoor temperature and promote drying of the plaster ceiling. They rigged ducting on a construction lift to focus heat on ceiling areas with more pronounced moisture. Further, they situated air movers on balconies and on the Library Ladder, which had historically been used to update the trading wall when the Exchange operated years ago. Finally, the team built a containment and drying system to dry the hardwood floors. 

Thanks to a rapid and multi-faceted mitigation approach, Paul Davis technicians dried all areas of the trading floor quickly enough that no demolition was required. The team is now coordinating substantial repairs to the historic ceiling, which sustained unavoidable damage. 

Despite the holidays and the challenge of maintaining sufficient heat during the Minnesota winter, Paul Davis completed the entire mitigation phase in less than three weeks. “We are very pleased to provide extraordinary care to yet another happy customer, and to protect and restore one of the heritage properties that grace our downtown,” Fuchs concluded.  

Need help with an unexpected leak? Call Paul Davis at 844-215-7898.