Bob’s the dude who runs this joint. He spends his time running Surplus Sales in the historic Ashton building next door while he renovates The Mastercraft into an awesome space. It's a groovy thing.
Rich in history, The Mastercraft building in North Downtown Omaha is a place filled with an entrepreneurial spirit that dates back to 1925.
T he Katzman family began Mastercraft furniture – a journey that led them, in 1941 to open their 140,000 square-foot factory at 1111 North 13 Street.
Today, it is a budding creative center that is drawing companies from industries like design, architecture, information technology and photography.
With ample parking and a close proximity to TD Ameritrade Park, new hotels and the city’s riverwalk, The Mastercraft building is a destination in downtown Omaha. Its high ceilings, clerestory windows, and rough sawn lumber joists give it a unique feel that feeds unmistakable creative energy. Grinnell sees his job as safeguarding the integrity of the building while renovating with high standards. His goal is to ensure he builds an image of The Mastercraft that will make its tenants and the city of Omaha proud. However, the Mastercraft didn’t start out that way.
After the Katzman family sold the furniture business to an Iowa company in 2003, the building sat empty for two years, becoming dilapidated and a target for looters. An attempt to sell the building was not successful and it eventually went to auction, where Grinnell purchased it.
He describes two of the best decisions he made early on: hiring a great representative to list and market the building, and an architect with a clear vision of how to turn a 70-year-old ugly furniture factory into an eye popping deco-themed space.
“It made the most sense to create a common corridor through the middle of the building, with a common entry and restrooms,” Grinnell explained. “Since the building is three blocks long, it was practical to develop the southern third first. We now have developed two-thirds of the building for reuse.” Think of it this way, The Mastercraft is the length of three football fields put end-to-end. Two of them are ready for business use and new tenants contact us almost daily about leasing space. “Am I responsible for The Mastercraft becoming this creative Mecca? I don’t think so,” said Robert Grinnell, the building’s owner.
Grinnell’s vision to restore rather than destroy The Mastercraft, has shaped a building into a structural work of art that inspires the kind of creative ingenuity this building has known for decades.
Once an industrial area, North Downtown Omaha is now a growing, vibrant area of the city. Anchored by the new TD Ameritrade stadium and the CenturyLink Center, North Downtown has become a destination for events, shopping, music, restaurants, and of course, the College World Series. The Slowdown music venue and Hot Shops Art Center have both played a large part in Omaha’s music and art scene, and the area continues to attract talented artists, musicians, designers, and innovators. With word of a coming fiber-optic network, North Downtown is expected to grow even more in the coming years.
The Slowdown is a live music venue and bar, recognized in 2008 by Esquire Magazine as club of the year.
Home to the to NCAA Men’s College World Series, TD Ameritrade Stadium is walking distance from The Mastercraft.
Hot Shops Art Center consists of art studios, showrooms, and unique gallery spaces for local artists of various disciplines.
Omaha’s convention center and arena hosts concerts, trade shows, exhibits, and large scale events.
Film Streams is a non-profit organization devoted to the presentation and discussion of independent filmmaking.
Blatt serves up a creative menu of tasty continental pub fare and an impressive lineup of craft beer.