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Meadowbrook Apartments set to reopen after tornado damage

Meadowbrook Apartments has been restored following extensive tornado damage.1 / 3
Jeff Boehm (left) is the owner of Paul Davis Restoration in Detroit Lakes, and Doug Edgington is the project manager.2 / 3
Aaron Bakken works on some of the finishing touches at Meadowbrook Apartments.3 / 3

From Meadowbrook Apartments, you can see what was left of the old high school, the community center, Leaf River Ag, the fairgrounds and other structures destroyed by the June 17 EF4 tornado and now in the process of planning for rebuilding.

Meadowbrook itself is already restored, with 24 housing units ready to be moved into by March 1. This after the storm tore into the northwest Wadena building, leaving a gaping hole with clothes racks visible.

Jeff Boehm, owner of Paul Davis Restoration in Detroit Lakes, said they were planning to turn over the building to the property management company, Gores, and the owners on Feb. 26.

"The units on each end were heavily damaged. We gutted those completely and did a complete rebuild in those. Some of the more interior units received new floor coverings, drywall repair, painting on the window coverings," project manager Douglas Edgington said.

He added that the entire roofing system was new, 100 percent of the flooring was new, and about half the windows and exterior doors were replaced. All new siding and shingles are on the exterior.

"About half the kitchens were upgraded with new cabinetry and fixtures," Edgington said.

"Doug was on the site literally every day, making it happen," Boehm said.

Edgington, who is from Fargo, lived in the Wadena community during the workweek starting in September.

"Two or three of the old tenants have actually stopped by and looked at the progress," he said.

Meadowbrook was damaged, but not totaled. The property owners, the Klos family of the Twin Cities, contacted Paul Davis Restoration.

"It's nice to be able to keep a structure, because there's still a lot of good bones in it," Boehm said.

He said that Paul Davis Restoration had its roots in insurance restoration work for disasters like fire, water, tornadoes and other storms.

Edgington said that they used predominantly local trade partners and vendors.

"The whole roofing system came out of the Wadena Truss company," Boehm said. "Almost all the material that could be bought locally, was bought locally."

"TimberRoots did the trusses, Merickel Supply most of the lumber and siding, Drywall Supply was the drywall vendor, and most of the tradesmen were local," Edgington said.

What was it like doing construction work in the dead of winter?

"We would continue to do our exterior work until it hit about five below, and then we would put that on hiatus for a few days and move everyone inside, and then work where it was a bit more pleasant and when the weather moderated," Edgington said.

Boehm said that the apartment complex, which was built in 1974, was starting to show its wear and that some updates were about to be due anyway.

A major improvement, Boehm said, was a safer and better building. While Meadowbrook tested negative for lead paint, it tested positive for asbestos in the ceiling texture and in some of the old vinyl flooring.

Boehm said the process of asbestos abatement was extensive.

"There was constant monitoring, we had the Department of Health, and it's something that's done very thoroughly," he said.

Boehm said that the previous presence of asbestos was not a danger to former Meadowbrook renters because asbestos are only dangerous when disturbed.

"It wasn't a risk to prior tenants unless you start ripping up a floor," he said.

Edgington and Boehm said that instead of 70s Harvest Gold refrigerators, the 24 units now had new appliances.

One-bedroom apartments will be $500 per month and two-bedroom apartments will be $550 per month, including heat.

Even with the apartments about ready to be moved into, not everything is finished. Craig Folkestad of Gores said that exterior landscaping would happen later.