Saint Paul Real Estate Blog

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Tour

On Saturday, May 1, 2010, eight houses and one church in Twin Cities communities will be featured on an all-day bus tour organized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. Three of the homes were designed by Wright himself. The others are the work of Wright's colleagues, proteges or other prominent mid-century modern architects who were influenced by his style.

"These are all private homes that haven't been open since the tour here 10 years ago," said architect Tim Quigley, of Quigley Architects, who's a member of the conservancy board.

In the early 1930s, Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most renowned architects in the world. He was the creater of Prairie School architecture.


Dinky Dome Project Wins Top Best in Real Estate Award

An apartment building and renovation of the historic Dinky Dome near the University of Minnesota has received an award. It was named as the Best Overall project in this year’s Best in Real Estate awards, handed out each year by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

The $38.6 million project being developed in Saint Paul by Kelly Doran, principal of Bloomington-based Doran Cos., also won the award for the Best Multifamily Development and Redevelopment – Market Rate.

The judges liked the Sidney Hall project because it preserved the historic Dinky Dome and enhanced the neighborhood. It also filled a need in the market. The building’s 125 apartments are 80 percent pre-leased and major tenants in the retail space include CVS Pharmacy, Wells Fargo Bank and Ebert & Gerberts. Finally, the projec created much-needed construction jobs during the economic downturn and housing slump.

See the full list of Best In Real Estate winners at Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal.


2010 Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour This Weekend

The Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour happens April 24-25, 2010. The tour showcases real homes, real people, and real ideas for remodeling, redecorating, and restoring.

On the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour, residents of 53 amazing homes, 35 in Minneapolis and 18 in Saint Paul, will open their doors to show creative and practical ideas for home additions, kitchens, bathrooms and more. Visitors will have the opportunity to talk directly with the homeowners and find out what it’s like to live there. At many homes, their contractors, architects, and other trades people will also be on hand to answer questions.

Homes on the free, self-guided 2010 tour will be open Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 25, 1-5 p.m. This event will happen, rain or shine.

The tour starts where you like. Discover what homes can be visited at the “Homes” page on this website, Printed guides are available in early April at libraries in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and suburban Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Additionally, there is something new on the Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour. This year, one hour before the tour starts, several workshops will be offered. The workshops are as follows, see the site for details and locations:
  • Is a Green Certification Right for Your Remodel Project? on Saturday, April 24, from 9 to -10:30 a.m.
  • How to Select and Work with a Professional Remodeler on Saturday, April 24, from 9 to 10 a.m.
  • The Art & Science of the Open Plan on Sunday, April 25, from Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Historic Homes for Everyday Families on Sunday, April 25, from Noon to 1 p.m.
The Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour is coordinated by Minneapolis...

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Buys 8 Saint Paul Houses for $8

Eight properties in St. Paul were purchased for $8 recently. The deal struck between St. Paul and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity was for properties in two of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Seven are in Payne-Phalen, the eighth is in Summit-University.

Five of the Payne-Phalen properties will be part of a program taking place this October when former President Jimmy Carter will visit to help build or fix up 20 homes in struggling Saint Paul and Minneapolis neighborhoods. Two foreclosed houses will be rehabilitated, and three new homes will be built on foreclosed lots. An additional five properties near the ones purchased by Habitat for Humanity will get exterior repairs through the nonprofit's A Brush With Kindness program.

"It's an opportunity to focus on neighborhood revitalization and new opportunities," said Sue Haigh, president of the nonprofit affordable housing provider.

Habitat for Humanity is scheduled to go before the Minneapolis City Council next month to talk about 10 properties there.

The organization is expected to acquire 50 Saint Paul properties over the next 4 years.


The Polar Bears are Back in Town!

Buzz and Neil, the Como Zoo polar bears who have been in Detroit for 2 years while their new habitat is completed, have returned to St. Paul. The brother bears are taking some time to get used to their spacious new home, Polar Bear Odyssey

About four times bigger than their old abode, the $15 million exhibit is intended to mimic a Hudson Bay ecosystem. In the new exhibit, there is a large indoor complex, two outdoor areas, a saltwater pool, rock outcroppings, and the habitat is planted with native flora. It's the only polar bear exhibit in the U.S. — and the second in the world after Toronto's — to get the Three Diamond Rating by Polar Bears International.

While the bears acclimate to their new surroundings, the exhibit will be closed. Zoo keepers are expectig it to open to visitors until June 3.

The 14-year-old bears have been a popular attraction at Como Park neighborhood zoo since 2002.

For more information on the features of the Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit, go to

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - In Blaine?

There was already an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" that took place in St. Paul. Now the producers of the ABC reality TV show have focused their sights on homes in Blaine. The countdown clock is ticking! The show’s deadline to receive family nominations is next Friday, April 9, 2010.

To be eligible, a family must own their own single-family home and be able to show producers how a makeover will make a huge difference in their lives.

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” provides home renovations for deserving families. Each episode features a race against time to complete a housing project that would ordinarily take at least four months. The effort involves a team of designers, contractors and several hundred workers. The residential property will be entirely rebuilt in 7 days.

What does it take to be picked for an “Extreme Makeover?”

“We really want to help families whose homes present major problems,” said Rebecca Shumsky, the show’s casting supervisor, in a recent news release.

“We want to help people whose stories have really affected their community or made a big difference,” Shumsky said. “We’re looking for special people who have amazing strength of character and never give up.”

Nominations may be submitted by the family or by a member of the community.

For additional information on how to apply as an episode nominee, read the rest of the news article and visit the show’s Web site.

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