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801 Washington Lofts, Minneapolis


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801 Washington Lofts Minneapolis, Minnesota

The historic turn of the century former Farm Implement factory and Studebaker Packard showroom known as 801 Washington in Minneapolis’# North Loop was repurposed in 2003 into condominiums, retaining many historic and architectural features. Understandably, no provisions were made for access control. Retrofitting conventional access control to a traditional mechanical keyed building, especially an historic one like 801, is typically costly, disruptive and aesthetically challenging – requiring hard wiring and cutting into door frames to install electric door strikes and card readers, etc.


The challenge

The forward-thinking homeowners and board of 801 Washington embraced technology, deciding not just to provide access control to the usual perimeter entry and common areas but to go all in, becoming a completely keyless residential facility, integrating their residential doors and garage entry. They chose leading electronic access control provider SALTO Systems for the project.

SALTO introduced its first battery-powered access control lockset in 2001, an encrypted data-on-card system that allows cards, fobs or smartphones to carry data back and forth to individual locksets, creating a virtual network without wires.

With over three million locksets installed in 90 countries, SALTO has become a worldwide market leader in innovative wireless lockset solutions that now make retrofitting traditional mechanical-keyed facilities practical.


The solution

Gittleman Maintenance Security Integrations Division, in conjunction with SALTO, produced and installed an integrated solution at 801 Washington Lofts that is practical, secure and future proof and contains these benefits and features:

◘ User-friendly, intuitive solution protects client investment and simplifies integration with other building systems.

◘ Drastically reduced material and labor costs associated with re-keying.

◘ Resident and employee credentials can be issued or cancelled on an individual basis.

◘ Time-based access control system includes user-selectable keycard access and expiration, ideal for dog walkers, housekeepers, service personnel, etc.

◘ High security key encryption, proprietary and unique to each installation.

◘ Smartphone app that allows BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices to function as a credential; new or updated credentials can be sent directly and remotely to a customer’s phone.

◘ Extensive reporting capabilities with a complete system audit trail.

◘ All-metal, heavy-duty locksets.

◘ Batteries are rated at over 40,000 transactions on 3 AA alkaline batteries and continue to operate during power or internet/ network outages.

◘ Locksets always supported by manufacturer compared to many residential products in a fast- evolving industry that become obsolete quickly.

◘ Additional fobs, cards or Bluetooth access can be configured for timed access and duration. For example, dog walkers or housekeepers can only access the building and unit between controlled times such as 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. M-F, etc.

◘ Long Range Readers to control garage access from discreet secure vehicle windshield stickers that cannot be removed and stolen and have no moving parts or batteries.


FirstService Residential Association Manager of 801 Washington Lofts Jenna Mazal diligently set up credential management protocols, encoding and issuing homeowner credentials prior to the changeover.

Over the course of three weeks, Gittleman technicians first installed long range readers in the garage, operating in parallel with existing garage door openers, carefully working through any questions or issues with homeowners before turning off and removing the old hardware. The same procedure was followed for perimeter entry door locks and common areas before finally replacing homeowner’s residence locksets once they were familiar with using electronic credentials.

Overall, it was a smooth and successful partnership project and so well received by homeowners, that it led to SALTO installations in a homeowner’s business facilities.

Several FirstService Residential-managed condominium associations have worked with Gittleman Construction to install SALTO for their perimeter access doors and have subsequently added common area interior doors preparing for eventual resident door lock conversions.

“I once again had an amazing experience with Gittleman Low-Voltage on the 801 Washington Lofts project. While I have worked with the team before on multiple projects, this was the first key-less project I have participated in and it went smoother than I thought possible. The project was completed efficiently and of the highest quality.The team refused to leave the building each day until every installed lock was working as it should. Whether a door needed additional repairs or specialty installation due to the age of the building, Gittleman got it done,” said Mazal.

Mazal said of the 61 units (which house a total of 117 residents), they did not receive a single complaint regarding the project. Every resident was thrilled to have multiple options to access their building and unit. Residents loved the free flowing access they gained in and out of the garage. Going from a building with no door access control to completely keyless was an amenity the residents now feel safer with and an amenity they feel makes their building even more desirable.

“Overall, this was a fantastic experience and I look forward to bringing SALTO and Gittleman to every property I oversee,” said Mazal.