Saint Paul's Penfield Development Back on the Table... Again!

The Penfield development proposed for the northwest corner of the intersection at E. 10th and Robert streets in downtown St. Paul has been stalled for years. Now, a new proposal calls on the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) to take control of the project and make a scaled-down version of the project happen.

The HRA wants to take advantage of Build America Bonds made available through the federal stimulus program. The HRA would use $48 million of bonding money. HUD would guarantee the bonds. About $3.6 million in proceeds from a special taxing district also would be used, as well as $1.7 million in grants.

Instead of building a 40-story condo and hotel project, the proposed 11-story Penfield tower would hold 216 rental housing units, house a 30,000-square-foot Lunds supermarket and over 300 parking spaces. The building would have a green roof.

Dick Zehring, board chairman of the Greater St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), said he believes the city is right to take advantage of bonds available now.

"It's a great use of those funds because it creates construction jobs, but it also has a lasting impact on downtown," he said.

In addition to city approval, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would have to sign off the project.

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