Willmar Cozy Inn's History

 

The original Cozy Inn was built in 1990 by Donald Vossen, a long time local entrepreneur that owns several diverse enterprises in the Willmar area. The motel was located 1 mile west of it's present location on the corner of 19th Ave & 1st Street. Mr. Vossen originally built the motel to house railroad workers for one of his ventures that did business with the Burlington Northern Railroad. Sometime during the 90's Mr. Vossen decided not to renew his contract to house railroad workers so he fully renovated the property for general motel lodging.

In 2003 Mr. Vossen sold the land the Cozy Inn was on to make way for a strip retail center. Rather than having the structure demolished we purchased the building in hopes of moving it to a new location. The building was well maintained both in immaculate shape and cleanliness.

We did not know if it could be moved in one piece since the building was 135' long and 43' wide and weighed 180 tons. Marcus Building Movers of Raymond, MN assured us the move would be no problem for them. To keep costs down we did most of the interior preparation work before Marcus Movers brought in their massive 18" metal beams needed to carry the structure.

 

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Work started in the July 2003. We first had to remove all the mechanical equipment to an offsite storage location
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Then the hard tenuous task of removing every piece of sheetrock from every wall in the entire building started. We only needed to remove the lower 4' to make way for the large 18" metal beams.



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After around three weeks of tearing sheetrock out we removed the doors and toilets and also brought them to an off site storage area. All the beds, drapes, chairs, linens, etc. were carried to the second level rooms for storage.

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Everything that could be salvaged was saved to be used at the new location, even the stairs and hand rails were re-used.

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Once the sheetrock was removed the Marcus crew brought in their massive beams. The steel beams weighed 40 tons. The beams alone weighed more than a standard home. Two main beams  ran the 140' down the length of the building and then 40', 10" cross beams were set on top of them. Then every single wall stud was fastened together with two lag bolts attached to 2x10's. It took the Marcus crew a few days to install the many thousands of bolts that were used to support the interior walls.

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16 hydraulic 15-ton jacks were placed under the beams and lifting began. It took an extra 30-40 tons of lifting pressure to free the building from the foundation. Many hydraulic jacks were positioned under the building and then they were controlled at one central location to lift the building to 50".

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Once the building was raised to the proper height, 8x8 wooden beams were set underneath to carry the weight until 8 sets of dollies could be mounted. Again the building was jacked-up and the wooden cribs were removed. Road weight restrictions determined how many dollies were needed to disperse the weight and allow the structure to be moved on the public roads. Each dolly has 8 tires so the weight was dispersed over 64 tires putting about 5,600 pounds on each tire.

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Another I-beam was connected to the two main support beams and then connected to a semi tractor. On hard pavement the building moved fairly easy. It took some tricky driving and tight turns to get it off the original site. Some rain softened a the area of the proposed route so we ended up driving through the mall parking lot. The above picture on the right shows the vacant lot after the move. You are looking at the corner of 19th Ave & 1st St. (Business 71)

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We had a little problem when we crossed one field before getting onto 19th Ave. The field appeared to be solid until the full weight of the building was on it. This phase of the move took the most time and likewise had the highest risk potential for damage to the building. For added pulling power Marcus used a 4X4 tractor, a 4X4 backhoe and a winch truck along with a semi tractor to make the pull through the soft field.

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Once we were on the road only the semi was needed for the pull. Eric Marcus  sat under the building and steered the building as it went down the road as shown in the above left picture. It traveled at about 1.5 MPH. The street was shut down by the police for the move. We were fortunate that no power lines had to be moved.

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The motel was moved east from it's original location one mile on 19th Ave. The move took about 3 hours There were a few locations mail boxes had to be moved, other than that the move went just as planed.

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A ramp was built with gravel so the motel could be pulled over the curb as it entered the building site. 
R. Excavating & Septics of Willmar did all the site preparation work before the building arived. For more pulling power the extra equipment was hooked up again. The motel was brought adjacent to where the new foundation was being built.

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The building was once again but on blocks and the Marcus crew was done until the foundation was finished and the cement was cured to a strength that would support the building. The five guys starting on the left are part of the Marcus crew. Mike, Garvin, Jerry, Marlin and Eric Marcus. (Dan & Kevin Marcus are not pictured)

 

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