COKATO, MN Rick Gullickson, a real estate broker based in Brooklyn Park, said he used to always be searching for properties for clients and for himself.
When he saw the former Elim Church building in downtown Cokato on the MLS real estate pages, he knew he had to take a look.
He liked what he saw. “I did a walk-through and I was very impressed,” he said.
Gullickson said he has been dreaming of a space like the Elim building for years, but said he never knew if or when he would actually encounter such a thing.
He said once he toured the Cokato building, he knew it was a perfect fit. “It checked all the boxes, and the price was fair,” he said.
Gullickson’s goal is to fill his newly-named Cokato Events Center with a storefront church or two, office, and retail spaces, and perhaps even dance and photography studios, fitness clubs, theater groups, and the occasional comedy acts.
Gullickson said, ideally, he would have three to four full-time tenants to pay the bills and keep things running well.
“Once that happens, I can start having the events I want to sponsor in the main sanctuary, along with catered meals,” he said. “I will take possession the first of April or so, then I can start to market the building to serious tenants.”
Gullickson wants people to feel comfortable and at home when they visit. “I would like to see some space dedicated to the local youth and the elderly to gather for a cup of coffee and a conversation, and a place for the teens to play ping pong or just hang out,” he said.
At a recent Cokato City Council meeting, Gullickson mentioned his intention to make veterans and law enforcement members especially welcome. He wants people to understand that only family-friendly activities will be allowed to utilize event space in the building.
Just a bit of retrofit
Gullickson said the building was clean and well-cared for when he first saw it, and he intends to keep it that way. He also has plans for increased electrical efficiency.
“I am, first of all, retrofitting all the lighting to LED lamps and bulbs,” he said. “This alone will drop the bill down 30 to 50 percent.” Gullickson estimated there are 450 lamps and bulbs that need to be changed in the building.
Signing for space
Gullickson said he has shown the building to several potential tenants already, although he does not have any specific business or organization in mind at this time.
“I’m sure there will be tenant improvements to do as I fill the building with tenants,” he said. There is plenty of room: the building measures out at 18,750 square feet.
He indicated the building is the perfect place to host weddings, funerals, birthday, retirement, or graduation parties; concerts or recitals, or other entertainment.
The former sanctuary features seating for 311 people. There is a large kitchen onsite for catering, and a number of multipurpose rooms.
Anyone interested in leasing space in the building may contact Gullickson at 763-746-6895 for an appointment.