The Degree-St. Paul, MN

Project Profile

24 Jan, 2024




The Degree, formerly the Degree of Honor Protective Association Building, is a 78-unit historic renovation project that transformed a former downtown St. Paul mid-century office building into market rate apartments. Originally built in 1961 by a woman-led company, this ten-story structure was adapted into contemporary use while maintaining its historic integrity and preserving a capitol city icon.


On the main level, the lobby was restored to its original condition, preserving granite wall tiles and terrazzo floors. We utilized the former break room areas for new resident amenities such as: community room, resident lounge, fitness areas and bike storage on the lower level.


Great care was taken with the exterior and all original materials were preserved, including black and white granite wall cladding, and even granite soffit and fascia. Interior modifications were carefully designed to not alter the historic appearance of the building. The finished interior design took cues from the building’s original glory and preserved all granite cladding, wood wall paneling, coffered ceilings, and metallic details.


To ensure future residents were comfortable and the building became as energy efficient as possible, we completely redesigned the HVAC system throughout the building to give each individual unit independent control, utilized high efficiency heat pumps (served by St. Paul District Energy), and provided energy recovery and mechanical ventilation throughout the building.


Lastly, the project team worked with both the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service to ensure that the renovation complies with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation. The project received state and federal historic tax credits.



CLIENT: Madison Equities, Inc. 
TYPE: Historic Renovation
STATUS: Completed 2020
SCALE: 115,753 SF; 78 units
Photography: Kory Kevin Photography

The Team

ARCHITECT: Kaas Wilson Architects