Many thanks to former councilman Keith Meland for his help on this confusing topic. Additional corrections and clarifications are very welcome – please contact us.
To look at it, it seems hard to believe that the area that is now the home of Costco, Home Depot, Office Depot, and others on Cedar Lake Road was once a massive building used by Honeywell.
MINNEAPOLIS SECURITY WAREHOUSE
The Minneapolis Security Warehouse was located at 1625 Zarthan Ave. So. It was built by Minneapolis Warehouse Inc., owned by the Frenzel family. It was built in 1964 or ’65 and had a 3,000 car parking lot. Parts of the building were leased to various companies. For example, at one time it was the Twin Cities site for the storage and distribution of non-perishable foodstuffs for the school lunch program. Most of the goods were products whose production was subsidized by the US Department of Agriculture. Other companies stored inventory in the building, and there may have been a printing company there as well.
Honeywell leased part of the building in 1966. An article in the August 1966 St. Louis Park Forum reported:
HONEYWELL BEGINS PARK OPERATIONS
Work is beginning in the new Honeywell Inc. installation in St. Louis Park. The Ordnance division of Honeywell recently leased 100,000 feet in a new building located just south of Highway 12 and west of Vernon Ave. The new Plant will produce equipment for the Air Force.
Edward C. Lund, vice president and general manager of the Ordnance division, said 100 persons will be employed initially but that the number is expected to reach about 400 by early 1967.
From the late 1960s to about 1980, Honeywell used the site for “light manufacturing, assembling and processing in conjunction with its federal defense contracts.” One product was a helmet for pilots. The building also housed an avionics unit; one product was a real time landing card for on-board computers for commercial aviation.
The company became notorious for manufacturing “cluster bombs” for use during the VietNam War. One Park High grad from the Class of 1965 remembers de-burring holes in the shells of the cluster bombs at the St. Louis Park site. Although Honeywell headquarters was leafleted and marched on by the activist group The Honeywell Project for manufacturing the cluster bombs, none apparently came to the St. Louis Park site.
In 1981 Honeywell traded a building they had in Louisville, KY with Space Center, Inc. (controlled by Hasselberg) for the SLP site. One report is that Honeywell bought the building from Space Center, but the sale was never recorded. It was at that time that the property was subdivided into the tracts present today.
The photo below was taken by Bradley Chazin “from the my old office on the top floor of the Park National Bank Building Highway 12 and Vernon Avenue. The empty lot is where the Cooper Theater was located.” The Honeywell building can be seen at the upper left. This would have been sometime between 1992 and 1995.
Before the building was demolished in 1996 the fulminate of mercury used in the fuses of the cluster bombs had to be remediated.
*Honeywell apparently had an interest in St. Louis Park before moving into the warehouse. A note from the 1962 City Council minutes says that Honeywell requested use of a City tower at Wyoming and 34 1/2 Street for a sighting target. A lease was negotiated.