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Saint Paul Real Estate Blog

Minnesota is the #2 Happiest State in the U.S.

Did you know that you live in the second happiest state in the entire U.S.? A recent study done by the finance website, WalletHub, ranked Minnesota #2 in their analysis of the happiest states in our union.

WalletHub compiled a list of factors that went into determinng the happiest states in our country. They considered job security, work environment, recreational activities, physical health, emotional well-being and much more. I'm not completely sure how they graded some of these factors, but you can always check out their site and read about the study for yourself.

Minnesota was topped only by Utah, which ranked the highest in both work environment and recreational activities. With the outdoor recreation that Utah has, and the mountains, it's not difficult to understand why they got top marks. Our "rival" state across the St. Croix River, Wisconsin, ranked #18 of the "happiest" states.

In terms of qualatative studies that rank the individual states in the U.S., Minnesota has fared very well lately. Money Magazine ranks the best cities to live in the U.S. each year, and Minnesota consistenly has cities in the top ten. Forbes recently named Minnesota in the top ten of bussiness climates for each state, and now WalletHub is saying our state is very happy.

Not bad to hear if you're a Minnesotan. This is a great place to call home.

Photo courtesy of: Matthew Deery


Upscale St. Paul Apartment Project Approved

Right alongside Metro Transit's Green Line corridor will be a new five-story, upscale apartment building. The building, called Raymond Avenue Flats, was just approved by the St. Paul City Council.

The Exeter Realty proposal was opposed by St. Paul's Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) because the Raymond Avenue Flats would alter a protected commercial building in the University-Raymond Commercial Historic District.

Despite the objection from the HPC, the proposal was approved to build this new complex. The new building will be built behind the protected, but vacant commercial building. The protected building, known as the General Motors Truck Co. building, will also attach to the new five-story apartment complex.

The new building has every intention of keeping the protected building in tact and it will not in fact alter any of the area's existing structures.

This new luxury building will be a nice addition to the neighborhood and will surely have plenty of tenants when it opens. Easy access to St. Paul and the Green Line is a huge plus for anyone looking for a upscale place to call home.


Pioneer Press to Leave Downtown St. Paul

The St. Paul Pioneer Press just sold off their downtown headquarters. The 162,000 square foot, 1950s era property was sold to an apartment developer, the Stencil Group, based out of Sioux Falls. They wil move their operation to the River Park Plaza across the Mississippi River. The sum was undisclosed, though reports say the sale was not far off the asking price was $4.2 million.

The property will be refurbished into around 150 and 168 marketable apartments. The apartments will not be upscale or for only the wealthiest Twin City residents; the complex will be well-built, have nice interior designs and be moderately priced.

The newspaper industry has undergone many changes in recent years as the paper information industry continues to wane. In 2013, Pioneer Press closed down their St. Paul printing plant in favor of having their rival, the Star Tribune, print their papers. The Minneapolis plant now prints both papers.

St. Paul just lost an icon in their city's newspaper's headquarters.


State of Minnesota Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers

Did you know that one quarter of crashes in Minnesota last year were caused by distracted driving? That seems way too high of a number and a statistic that needs to drop considerably. 

The Minnesota Department of Safety is taking steps to work on taking drivers eyes off their phones and getting them back on the road. They have put together a plan to target distracted drivers -- city police, state troopers and county deputies are on the lookout for swerving cars, varying speeds and drivers with their eyes off the road. 

Phone calls are still legal on Minnesota roads, but using the Internet or texting is not -- even while stopped in traffic. 

Proving a driver is distracted with their phone texting is a tricky situation, but law enforcement officials can issue moving violations to anyone driving erratically. Distracted driving citations can range from $125 to $145 -- with that in mind, responding to that text while on the road or sending out that tweet is not worth the potential fine. 

Considering how many accidents are caused by distracted drivers, it's time that Minnesota drivers be forced to fully invest into safe driving -- if they can't follow that notion, those drivers who want to text and drive need to be penalized.

Photo courtesy of: IntelFreePress


Find the Best Gas Prices in the Twin Cities

In recent months, gas prices have been plummeting much to the delight of Minnesota drivers everywhere. But have you ever been filling up at the pump and wondered if you are getting the best deal? There are few things that annoy me more than filling up and driving down the road and seeing a gas station selling gas for three cents cheaper. Well, now those days of "living in the dark" are over -- has created an interactive map that has all the best gas prices in the Twin Cities which will allow consumers to get the best deals at the pump every time. 

The map is even spans across the country so you can check out what gas prices are like in other states. Checking out the coasts, the map will make you happy to be a Minnesotan (the coasts are well over $2.50 a gallon). 

So any time you are complaining about freezing your butt off filling up, at least you are getting a great deal at the pump. 

Check out the interactive map below. 

Twin Cities Gas Prices provided by

Two Minnesota Teens Honored For Rescuing Fishermen

Ice Fishing is a long-practiced and well-loved recreational activity in Minnesota -- though the sport is often very safe, every now and then you hear stories about fishermen breaking through thin ice into the freezing water. 

This story has the nightmare of two fishermen falling through the ice, but also the heroics of two teens who saved their lives. Two Minnesota youth, Alex Stark and Cody Clements, both 16, saved the lives of Paul Monahan and Bruce Halvorson after the pair fell through the ice on Long Lake. 

After hearing their cries for help, Stark and Clements raced to the spot of crisis and used a shovel and rope to help pull the struggling (and freezing no doubt) fishermen to safety. 

On Tuesday, the two teens were presented with citizens' awards for bravery by James Van Elyll, the Long Lake Fire Chief. He commended the teens for their actions, stating how the sitiuation could have ended tragically if not for their efforts. 

Photo courtesy of: Petritap 


Baby Gorilla Dies at Como Zoo

The Como Zoo community is dealing with a devastating loss this week. The zoo lost a baby gorilla less than a week after it was born to its western-lowland gorilla mother, Alice. This was the first birth of a baby animal is the history of the Como Zoo -- but the zoo has been caring for gorillas for 55 years. 

The baby was non-responsive and weak this past Sunday morning when zoo officials checked in on the gorilla and resuscitation efforts were fruitless. 

Zoo officials suspect the infant was not feeding properly. They were careful to monitor the mother and baby from a distance in an effort to not interfere with the parent-child bonding experience. Alice was very protective of the baby and often turned her back from zoo officials when they tried to observe her caretaking abilities. 

"The baby had appeared as if he was doing well through Saturday evening. He had a strong grip and was vocal," according to a statement from the Como Zoo. "Alice was showing positive signs of maternal instinct, had been observed nursing and cradling the baby."

A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

This sad news comes abrubtly after the amazing news of the gorilla infant's birth. 


Grand Old Day

What's better than an outdoor festival to start the summer?  While there are tons of outdoor events throughout the Twin Cities during the Summer months, nothing compares to St. Paul's Grand Old Day parade and all-day event.

Image Credit: Michael Hicks

Touted as the largest single-day festival in the Midwest, this event takes place on the 1st Sunday of June each year on St. Paul's historic Grand Avenue.  With a parade that begins around 9:30am and countless food vendors, concerts, and expos, this yearly gathering has something for everyone.


Preferred Mortgage Program for Doctors

Special Loan Program for Doctors

Medical doctors, residents and interns...there is a great mortgage loan program specially designed for you!  Those that qualify can purchase a home with as little as 5% down payment with a loan amount up to $1,000,000.  But that isn't even the best part.  This program does not require private mortgage insurance!  Most traditional mortgage loans require expensive private mortgage insurance with less than a 20% down payment, but this special program for Doctors avoids that costly insurance.  There are other criteria and restrictions, but it is definintely a program worth checking out.

Here is a great place to find more information about the Preferred Doctor Program.


St. Paul to host President Obama

President Obama will visit St. Paul on Wednesday February 26, 2014.  His visit will be two-fold: first a stop to tour the Metro transit facility that is responsible for light rail operations and then downtown to Union Depot to discuss new job creation measure.

The President's visit will spotlight the new Central Corridor rail line that will finally link the urban centers of Downtown Minneapolis and Downtown St. Paul.  With stops at the University of Minnesota and along University Avenue the new lightrail, dubbed the "green line," will link the downtowns in the same way Streetcars did before they disappeared over 60 years ago. 

The green line is currently being tested and is scheduled to open in June 2014 and I expect it will have a positive affect on the real estate market surrounding its route.  While public transportation has existed between the downtowns since the streetcars left, the light rail will cause home buyers to take a new look at those communities that surround the green line because of the convenience it will bring to those who work and/or play in the downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.  For many home buyers, they want to live where they can conveniently access the amenities that the downtown centers provide, but they don't want to live "in" those urban centers.