A historic Warehouse District building is being rehabbed and filled with a late-night fried chicken joint and an event venue.

Fast-casual chain Mad Chicken will occupy the ground-floor space at the corner of First Avenue North and Fourth Street North, the longtime home of the American Army Navy Surplus Store, and with Echo Events Company will take over the second floor. Major work on the property, now known as the Buchanan Building, should be done in August.

Mad Chicken started in Wisconsin and expanded to Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maryland. This new company-owned location in downtown Minneapolis will be its first in Minnesota. Mad Chicken’s flagship shops in Milwaukee are open until 3 a.m., which is how late it could stay open here.

An entity managed by Dennis Buchanan, owner of Sexworld, paid $1.85 million for a pair of connected buildings at 327 First Ave. N and 20-22 Fourth St. N in late 2019. He told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal at the time that he was buying and renovating downtown properties to position his family-owned business for legal marijuana sales.

Rendering of the Buchanan Building courtesy of RoehrSchmitt Architecture

The Buchanan family has operated adult entertainment stores in downtown Minneapolis since the ‘80s. More recently, the family got into commercial real estate with building purchases at 247-251 Third Ave. S and 314 First Ave. N, where the family ran Lickety Split and Downtown Intimates, respectively.

Hailey Buchanan, Dennis’ daughter and executive assistant, told Downtown Voices that the family is still interested in being owners of or landlords to recreational dispensaries. She said it could happen in the Buchanan Building, where there are still two available ground-floor retail spaces totaling almost 1,4000 square feet.

Assembly is handling leasing and Modern CRE is doing property management for the Buchanan Building.

Mitch Kall of Modern CRE said in an email to Downtown Voices that the Edina-based company continues to see investments in the Warehouse District and expects to see additional tenants moving into the area given the low availability of space and high cost of rent in the trendy, neighboring North Loop.

RoehrSchmitt Architecture and New History were enlisted to consult on the renovation of the buildings, which date back to 1902 and 1904, and to secure historic tax credits for the project.

Kall said the project wouldn’t have been possible without historic tax credits that help finance the renovation.