The big dig: What’s going on here?


  1. Jerry Bilek said:

    Sprazzo’s getting ready for some outdoor dining. Looks like an extension of the lower level and a deck upstairs. Just a guess.

    February 12, 2008
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    I do believe you are very wrong, Jerry.

    February 12, 2008
  3. Jerry Bilek said:

    it is definitely behind Sprazzo. Is it the brick oven?

    February 12, 2008
  4. Gabriel Rholl said:

    Something to do with the repairs to the leaking problems at Sweet Lou’s? That seems unlikely. I liked the Sprazzo guess myself.

    February 12, 2008
  5. John S. Thomas said:

    Excavation for the new underground lair and offices of LoGroNo, with a secret entrance accessible from GBBM?

    February 12, 2008
  6. John S. Thomas said:

    If I was to actually guess, I would think it has to do with the expansion of the foundation for the Sprazzo space.

    My guess is that they found issues upon issues with the old space, and found that to install a proper kitchen facility to code, as well as support the oven, the foundation needed to be strengthened.

    Therefore, they are expanding the foundation, making the space larger, and more structurally sound.

    The space has already been gutted to the point that only the facade on the front is original, and the first floor cieling is there just to keep the walls from the businesses on each side from caving in.

    It looks like a complete gut / remodel. I would bet that as soon as the foundation and more structural support is in, the top half shown gets removed in some manner.

    Just a guess…

    February 12, 2008
  7. Gilly Wigley said:

    Something with renovating the upper level of Sprazzo and expanding it for more living space? Apartments or condos maybe? I know that when you expand or add an addition onto your house, you have to have an equal amount of basement underneath. Possibly the same with businesses downtown as well? So in lieu of having to comply with state regulations/code, they’ve decided to push the kitchen back farther and add more inside dinning. Or possibly a small stage space for live shows in back.

    That would be my guess.

    February 13, 2008
  8. Gilly Wigley said:

    I know that the Buddhist Meditation center is in that area as well… But if I remember correctly, I think that’s the part of the building on the right of the construction.

    February 13, 2008
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    I don’t yet have the complete story but as far as I know, the space will not have anything to do with Sprazzo.

    I’ve asked the building owners to comment here.

    February 13, 2008
  10. Well, that ‘rock’ one sees in the images turns out to be the nearly half-billion year old St. Peter Sandstone of Ordovician age. Looks like it took no dynamite to remove it (maybe they just scraped it down with a front-end loader, I suspect).

    This then might just be the ‘oh, no we can’t excavate at the library because of the bedrock monster’! – tamed.

    How about tracing the sandstone bed north to the library and considering the possibility of creating a west-side, Division Street level expansion of the library with access to the grand building up on top on the sand – maybe a glass elevator.?

    And, if the sandstone was really relatively easy to remove, how about excavating-out a nice downtown parking ramp behind the ReMax Building?

    Dean Kjerland

    February 13, 2008
  11. Bob Kuyper said:

    I am one of the owners of 317 Division Street. The first level was expanded to add more square footage behind Sprazzo and to the apartment/condo that we are building above it. The Sprazzo kitchen is actually not back in that space, but further forward, and the brick oven itself is located about in the middle of the restaurant’s space. We are doing extensive work to make sure the building is as structurally sound as possible.

    February 13, 2008
  12. Bob Kuyper said:

    By the way, to clarify a couple of other things from the posts above.

    We did not dynamite anything. It took a skilled, veteran excavator, who used a giant machine jackhammer, as well as hand-hold jackhammers to bust the rock out. A large backhoe took it out.

    Also, the first floor ceiling is out and the walls are holding together well.

    Stay tuned for the fun of lowering an 8,000 lb oven into the building!

    February 13, 2008
  13. Tracy Davis said:

    Thank you, Bob, good to hear details from the person in the best position to know!

    February 13, 2008
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Likewise, thanks much for the update, Bob. I’ll see if I can get the Sprazzo proprietors to comment here.

    February 15, 2008

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