Edina Investment Firm Buys Time for Soap Factory to Save Its Building

Edina Investment Firm Buys Time for Soap Factory to Save Its Building

O’Brien-Stanley Partners purchased $1.2 million of the Soap Factory’s debt to RJM Construction, boosting the nonprofit’s hopes of reclaiming the building through fundraising within six months.

The Soap Factory found a stop-gap to address its finance-related building woes. It came in the form of Edina-based investment firm O’Brien-Stanley Partners.

At a sheriff’s sale held Tuesday at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, O’Brien-Stanley purchased a portion of the Soap Factory’s debt, for $1.2 million.

The 130-year-old Soap Factory building in southeast Minneapolis was put up for sale by RJM Construction, the company hired by the Soap Factory to complete a top-to-bottom facility renovation. As work progressed, the nonprofit arts organization was unable to sufficiently pay RJM Construction. Thus, RJM called for the sheriff’s sale to cover its losses. The planned sale was announced last week.

“All things considered, this was far from the worst-case scenario,” said Roy M. Close, chair of the Soap’s Board of Directors, in prepared remarks. “It buys us six months to secure the financing we need to pay O’Brien-Stanley, pay RJM for the work it has already done, get the project completed, and breathe life back into this organization.”

If the nonprofit fails to raise the necessary funds in the six-month time frame, then O’Brien-Stanley assumes ownership of the space.

Close said a strategy for fundraising is currently in development. An online crowd-funding campaign is likely to be part of that fundraising effort. Local artists have stepped forward to assist and organize such a campaign to help retire part of the debt.