Edina Realty remodels old Herald building, ready for real estate

By : 
Jordan Gerard

Another historic piece of Spring Grove has been remodeled and repurposed for a new real estate office.

Edina Realty re-located from Caledonia to Spring Grove, along with all three of its realtors: Pete Peterson, Laurie Peter and Stephanie Gulbranson.

“We are pretty impressed with Spring Grove. It’s a very progressive community,” Peterson said.

The real estate office had been residing in Caledonia for the past 15 years, and more specifically, rented an office for 13 years. When the opportunity came to own their own office, the realtors took it.

It wasn’t just the likeness that Spring Grove had in order to attract Edina Realty here. It was also the need for a realty office in town to help buy, sell and auction properties.

“It’s a neat town. There’s lots of growth here, but it was lacking a real estate office,” Gulbranson said.

She and her husband Anthony also have strong ties to the community, in addition to living here. All three realtors are excited to support the local community.

The realtors will be able to cover a variety of properties around the area and in three different states.

Gulbranson works with residential properties and is licensed in Minnesota and Iowa. Peterson buys and sells farm and commercial properties and also handles auctions. Peter works with residential and is licensed in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Between them, there’s a combined 44 years of experience in real estate, with 24 years for Peterson, 15 for Peter and four for Gulbranson. The headquarters of Edina is in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Peterson mentioned the turn-around time for the office is an average of 55 to 58 days on the market, from the time of the list date to the close date.

“It’s not who lists your property, it’s what they do when they list your property,” he said.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about moving the office to Spring Grove was the opportunity to remodel the former Spring Grove Herald building on Maple Drive.

“The building has a great location,” Gulbranson said. “There’s a lot of character in it. We just knew we had to preserve it. We really value that.”

The building was constructed in 1893, with weekly production of Heralds running until 2002, when the newspaper office moved to its current location on Main Street.

It’s also the first time the building has been out of the Onsgard family, who bought the newspaper and building in the 1900s (about 1906 or 1907).

With a jump-start from Fred Onsgard, the building was ready to go for a full remodel. Onsgard’s daughter, Lisa Bornholdt, hosted her Hue shop in the building before it was sold.

The Gulbranson’s were ready for the challenge. With a love for restoring historic things, they put a new roof on, insulated the attic, installed new windows, rewired the entire building, new furnace and duct work, took out the plaster and replaced that with sheetrock and finally, exposed the chimney and original hardwood floors.

They did seek more professional help when it came to windows, electrical, furnace and so on.

“We really embrace history,” Stephanie said. “We hate not seeing old being brought back to life.”

Black newspaper type ink covered the beauty of the interior in the back room where the presses were. Floors and walls were covered in it when Anthony and Stephanie took their first look at the building.

“We soda-blasted the back room to bring out the color of the original woodwork,” Stephanie said. 

They also added a bathroom, kitchen area, new lighting and repainted.

What’s more is the original printing presses used to print this edition’s ancestors came with the building and can be seen on display at the realty office. 

The only press that is not at the remodeled building is the large linotype press, but two presses still remain and the tables where pages were laid out are still there.

“People can come in during open hours and view the memorabilia that will be hanging on the walls,” Stephanie said.

They also found thousands of letter and punctuation tiles for the presses in the basement. It would have been necessary for so many because tiles would get worn out, lost or a different size would be needed.

It took about two and a half months to three months to finish the remodel. They also plan to finish touching up the exterior once the weather allows.

For now, the office is open and ready to accept visitors and clients. There will be an open house in April; the exact dates will be announced soon.