Mystic Lake Center

Mystic Lake Center is a 70,000-square-foot event center and a 180-room hotel tower featuring 18 new suites with scenic views. Combining this expansion project with the existing Mystic Lake Casino Hotel makes it the second-largest in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. 

Empirehouse partnered with PCL Construction and Worthgroup Architects & Designers as the architectural glass and metal contractor on the Mystic Lake Center project. Empirehouse entered into design-assist services with PCL Construction to assist with budgeting, pre-engineering, and the design layout anchoring of the saw-tooth curtainwall attachment.

Projects on an aggressive schedule are common for Empirehouse—only the Mystic Lake Center project came with approximately 42,000 square feet of curtainwall and storefront. Since the hotel was fully booked for the 2018 Super Bowl, there was no room for delay.

As with any tower project, it is challenging to enclose an entire floor at once to release it to other trades. Empirehouse participated in enclosure meetings early on with other Project Managers to hash out critical details on the exterior skin of the building prior to field mobilization, and a full-sized mockup was created to ensure system constructability.

On-Site Pre-Glazing

The nine-story hotel tower featured approx. 25,000 square feet of 6″ curtainwall assemblies glazed with high-performance glass. Empirehouse Project Manager Jason Weld, Field Superintendent Trent Johnson and Glazing Foreman Brandon Schindele came up with an innovative on-site pre-glazing plan which doubled efficiency and reduced equipment costs and lift-related injuries.

After the Empirehouse Production Team fabricated the aluminum frames and delivered them to the job site, Empirehouse Glaziers set up two staging areas to pre-glaze curtainwall sections on site. When one section was pre-glazed it was hoisted to the opening by a custom picking beam and Spyder Lift Crane and installed by a team of Empirehouse Glaziers as the other curtainwall section was being pre-glazed on the second stage. After the first unit was installed, Foreman Brandon Schindele folded up and transported the Spyder Lift Crane above the second staging area to crane the other pre-glazed curtainwall unit to the opening for installation.

Not only was this faster than using a swing stage to set frames and glass separately, it also reduced equipment costs and kept the field crew productive with little down time. In addition, Empirehouse utilized the Spyder Lift Crane to do the heavy lifting of other items like setting steel-loaded curtainwall mullions. This paid dividends in time savings as well as eliminating lift-related injuries.

Video: Innovative Pre-glazing Curtainwall Installation

Glazing installation

Each curtainwall section was pre-glazed on site and then hoisted to the enclosure opening by a Spyder Lift Crane operated by Glazing Foreman Brandon Schindele for installation by a team of Glaziers.

Teamwork and Creative Glazing

In order to meet the Mystic Lake Center project Super Bowl deadline, our Field, Fabrication, and Project Management Team applied creative glazing and installation strategies to accomplish more work safely in less time.

Empirehouse Field Superintendent Trent Johnson and Glazing Forman Brandon Schindele utilized innovative pre-planning, teamwork and creative glazing when they brought together a choreographed dance of three boom lifts and 12 Glaziers to install 190 glass lites into the facing hotel tower curtainwall on a sunny, summery Saturday.

Mystic radius curtainwall installation by Trent JohnsonDuring the week, glass units were crate dollied and skip stationed to each floor opening in preparation for installation. Then on Saturday, three teams of two Glaziers worked from the boom lifts and three teams of two Glaziers were stationed inside the building. One team prepped glass units, the second team set glass units, and the third team bolted frames. Working this way saved the time of moving the boom lifts up and down nine stories. Care was taken in coordination and planning so that there wasn’t a lift installing glass units over another glazing team to ensure safety on site.

In all approx. 3,500 square feet of glass lites were safely installed by the Glazing Team in one day!

Video: 3,500 square feet of glass installed in one day

Installing Electrochromactic Smart Glass

Mystic Lake CenterThe “swoosh” curtainwall lining the event center of the Mystic Lake Center project offered challenges of another kind. Approx. 10,000 square feet of 10.5″ curtainwall assemblies were glazed with Sage electrochromatic smart glass.

This state-of-the-art programmable glass automatically tints as the sun moves across the sky. Hotel and event guests can enjoy uninterrupted scenic views without the sun’s glare, while it provides a comfortable controlled climate by blocking heat-gain during the summer months which reduces cooling costs.

To make this electrochromatic smart glass function properly, each unit needed to be carefully wired, tested, and glazed perfectly into a unique frame location. This required an organized communication strategy. Project Assistant Rachel Yechout created an elevation to relay Sage wiring instruction procedures to the Fabrication and Installation Teams as they tested each glass tag.


Empirehouse Glaziers working while an NACC auditor assesses their safety and quality practices.

Architectural glass and metal scope:

  • Approx. 25,000 square feet of Kawneer 1600UT champagne anodized 2.5″ x 6″ fully captured ultra-thermal curtainwall assemblies glazed with 1″ Viracon VS6-08 blue-green tinted high-performance low ‘e’ coated glass and ceramic frit at spandrel
  • Approx. 10,000 square feet of Kawneer 1600UT champagne anodized 2.5″ x 10.5″ fully captured ultra-thermal curtainwall assemblies glazed with electrochromatic Sage glass
  • Approx. 7,000 square feet of Kawneer 451UT champagne anodized center-pocketed, flush-glazed storefront framing assemblies including 1.75″ x 4.5″ non-thermal framing systems glazed with 1/4″ clear tempered glass and 2″ x 4.5″ ultra-thermal framing systems glazed with electrochromatic Sage glass
  • 25 aluminum thermal and non-thermal entrances
  • Approx. 128 lineal feet of structural glass balustrade railing at stairs, overlook, and exterior patio
  • Shower doors and mirrors for 180 hotel rooms and suites
  • Borrowed lites
  • Suite glass shelves

Thanks to teamwork, innovative problem solving, and going above and beyond, the Mystic Lake Center was successfully completed safely and in time for 2018 Super Bowl guests.

Owner: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
General Contractor: PCL Construction
Architect: Worthgroup Architects & Designers
Architectural Glass & Glazing Contractor: Empirehouse
Total Glass Area: Approx. 42,000 square feet

For your next project, trust a Certified NACC Architectural Glass & Metal Contractor for quality results. Contact Empirehouse at 763-535-1150 or contact us.

Photo Gallery: (Click to enlarge)