This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
This story was updated to correct that Legacy Real Estate, LLC is the property management company.
The South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s office has an open criminal investigation into Aaron Hultgren and Hultgren Construction over the 2016 Copper Lounge Building Collapse.
Hultgren is currently contesting $200,000 in OSHA fines for a dozen violations.
Now KELOLAND Investigates has found issues with another Hultgren Construction project.
When it comes to the Copper Lounge building collapse, our KELOLAND News investigation found that Hultgren Construction was taking down a load-bearing wall without the proper permits and OSHA’s report confirmed that. We also discovered that there were issues in the City inspection of the adjacent PAve building, which was also a Hultgren remodel.
Between 2014 and 2016, the City issued $855,000 worth of building permits to Hultgren Construction for some 25 different projects.
We’ve discovered that one of those projects isn’t standing the test of time.
Rosie’s Cafe has been open in a building on Madison Street since 1984.
After Legacy Development and a group of investors bought it, they hired Hultgren Construction in August of 2015 to take down the old shingles and put up a new facade.
While Rose’s Cafe remains timeless on the inside, the owners were happy for an update to the building’s exterior. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that a customer came in noticing something was wrong.
“One of our customers came in and said, ‘Beckie you need to see this.’ So I went outside with him and noticed some of the facade was kind of leaning forward. It looked like it could easily break off and fall and cause some pretty serious damage. A strong wind probably could have taken it out,” owner of Rosie’s Cafe Beckie Mettler said.
Mettler called the property manager, which is still under Legacy Real Estate, LLC, although the building now has a new owner. Within a few weeks, work began to replace the leaning facade. The middle section is already complete and another section is now braced as it awaits repair.
“It just looked like they took a wall, 2 x 4’s and put the sheets over them,” Mettler said.
But this Hultgren Construction work did pass City inspection in October of 2015.
And Legacy Development says it also passed inspection when it was sold to a new buyer in 2016.
Our calls to the building’s new owner Ron Van Zanten and Aaron Hultgren were not returned. But Legacy Development did issue us in a statement, saying it understands a claim may have been turned into Hultgren Construction’s insurer, but that it’s not involved in those discussions.
Hultgren also did exterior remodels on three buildings across the street and next to Rosie’s, which all passed City inspection. We have not heard of any issues with those buildings.
We have learned from Legacy Development that it no longer employs Aaron Hultgren. Legacy Development tells us that Hultgren has chosen to pursue other opportunities.