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Historic Mill now destination for retreats, events

Looking for a unique, convenient setting to hold a gathering, business meeting or weekend project retreat can sometimes be difficult to find.

However, the Chaska Top of the Mill Event and Retreat Center, located in downtown Chaska, may just be the destination to fulfill that need.

Since May 2012, Chaska Mill Properties (CMP) co-owners Krista and Chad Flemming have developed the historic former flour mill structure into a multi-use building.  It features business tenants on the first two floors and the attractive Event/Retreat Center on the third floor, which is quickly establishing a reputation as a place for quality special group project getaways.

Located at 500 N. Pine St., CMP purchased the Chaska Mill building, which was built in the early 1900s and for many years served as a flour mill next to the railroad tracks used to ship the product.

After the three-story flour mill closed, the historic building was renovated in the early 1990s by the City of Chaska.  The original structure was built using the distinct, locally mined yellow clay Chaska Brick.  Many of the buildings in Chaska’s quaint business district are constructed with much of the same-colored Chaska Brick product.

Krista and Chad became part owners of the Chaska Mill after her father, Don Hartung, was approached to purchase the property.

Krista, who has a real estate background, became the manager for the property that consists of six business tenants located on the first two floors.  She supervises building needs and coordinates operation of the top floor Event and Retreat Center.

Both natives of Cosmos, Chad said it was Krista who got the idea for an Event/Retreat Center.  “When we bought the building we didn’t know for sure if we’d turn all of it into an office building but then Krista’s vision started us in the direction of redesigning the third floor exclusively into a space for events and retreats,” he explained.

“The third floor had nothing in it when we bought it, and I’m a scrapbook hobbyist, so I thought it would be a perfect space to transform into a retreat/event center,” she said.

Her idea came from watching her mother Bonny, who owns and operates the Quilt Haven on Main, located in downtown Hutchinson.  “She used to have a space for quilt retreats in her home, and I decided to draw from that experience to use my space at Top of the Mill for hobbyists or special interest groups of all kinds.”

The Retreat Center workroom has 48-inch by 30-inch individual table spaces, with over 30 electrical outlets, individual cutting boards, three ironing boards, individual craft lighting, wheeled craft chairs, Wi-Fi, a fully equipped kitchen, separate lounge, dining area and bar with hightop seating in the work room.

It has sleeping accommodations for 12 people in two large bedrooms, each with six single beds.  It has elevator access and about 1,500 sq. ft. of workroom space.  There are two bathrooms plus a shower on the third floor as well.

Along with scrapbooking, quilting, sewing groups, stampers, card makers or crafters, the third floor is perfect for any gathering or business meeting.

It’s available for girlfriend getaways, rehearsal dinners, company parties, business seminars, book clubs, retirement parties, photo enthusiasts, anniversary celebrations, family and class reunions, adult or child birthday parties, wedding or baby showers, graduations or holiday parties.

The attractive interior décor features exposed Chaska Brick walls, old timber beams and even some original milling equipment visible high above in the workroom’s vaulted ceiling.  The event space holds up to 80 people and includes tables and chairs (banquet style seating or high tops with stools), a built-in bar with a sink and a refrigerator with food prep area to allow guests to bring their own food and beverages or take advantage of on-site catering.

The Flemmings are pleased by the first year response for the Event/Retreat Center.  According to Krista, there have been 15 retreats held at Top of the Mill since the third floor opened in January 2014, with all of October and November already booked on weekends.

“We almost doubled our retreat expectations, and we want to book speciality events like Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and other parties too,” Chad noted.  “Retreats don’t happen all year around so we want to schedule other events and meetings during the week as well,” Krista added.

Krista says the Chaska Mill is a unique building in a location that’s near the metro area.  “So many retreat centers are far out in the country and that’s okay if you want the seclusion, but by offering Chaska Mill as a good, clean and fun meeting place on the edge of the west metro, our place is central to many other activities and events that people would enjoy.  Cy’s Bar & Grill, located on the first floor, offers a great atmosphere to take a break from your projects and the convenience of not cooking as much. The three things that make our destination so attractive are its location, convenience and character of the facility,” she stated.

The Event and Retreat Center is all about relaxation and rejuvenation.

“It attracts people from near and far.  Some want to retreat to a destination with more area amenities while others want to be away from home and still have options to run to a child’s local soccer game, and then head back to the Mill, kind of like a “staycation.” Chaska’s downtown stores and quaint feeling are complimented by larger attractions, like the Landscape Arboretum, Mystic Lake Casino, Valleyfair, Canterbury Downs and Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, all within a 20-minute distance from the Chaska Mill too.”

She also emphasized the Retreat Center is not just for women’s groups.  “There could be a bunch of men who have similar interests looking for a place to gather and share their hobbies too.”

There are various rates available for weekend, weekday or just-for-a-day retreats depending on the days of the week and existing schedules, as well as separate hourly rates for events.

Rate information, calendar availability, and accommodation details can be found by visiting the website or call 952-288-3319 for additional details and reservations.

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