Building History

Modern technology and grand statements have always been synonymous with 180 East Fifth. Today’s current upgrades, featuring high-speed data access technologies, availability of the Lowertown fiber-optic loop, and high-tech backup electrical systems help maintain this heritage. In addition, this building offers 24-hour security, on-site management, and is in close proximity to numerous ramp and surface parking options.

Stepping inside 180 East Fifth gives definition to the word “grandiose.” Large, unobstructed floor plans promote efficiency, improve workflow, and enhance communications. No other space in Lowertown can compete with its magnificence.

In 1914, eager to exhibit his power and empire, James J. Hill commissioned Chicago architect Charles S. Frost, designer of St. Paul’s Union Depot, to erect him an edifice worthy of Hill’s name. Mr. Frost was given three-quarters of a block of prime Lowertown real estate to work with. To say he succeeded would be a vast understatement.

When the massive 14-story Railroad and Bank Building opened in 1916, it was one of the most uniquely designed buildings in existence, as well as the largest office building in the Upper Midwest. It would remain the largest until the 51-story IDS Building was completed in 1973.

At the outset, this prodigious building housed Hill’s Great Northern Railroad, the Northern Pacific Railroad, and the First National Bank and related Northwestern Trust Company. Walls and a grand central court neatly divided the building down the center. This wonderful court would remain the centerpiece of this building until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when energy conservation necessitated interior renovations.

In 1984, the building was purchased by the Palmer Group and renamed Burlington Center. This purchase would begin the resurrection of the Great Hall and its return to the glorious prominence it richly deserved. By 1985, the lower four floors and mezzanine had been renovated, and this multi-tenant complex featured a marvelous blend of large and small businesses and retail outlets, including an art gallery, coffee shop, multiple convenience stores, and a cafeteria.

In 1986, U.S. Bank Trust became a major tenant, and the building was renamed the U.S. Bank Trust Center. In 2003, after the relocation of the U.S. Bank Trust, the building was renamed 180 East Fifth. The Great Hall Banquet and Conference Center renovation was completed, marking the successful recreation of the classic architecture that James J. Hill had inspired. The Great Hall serves as a versatile, wondrous space for conferences, training sessions, lectures, and corporate events. Today this building stands as a monument to a true empire builder, and a gem in the heart of Lowertown that is ready to support your business in the matter it deserves. If James J. Hill were alive today, he would be proud to know his edifice has not only survived, but prospered.

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