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.


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.


The Lowry Condos - St. Paul

The historic Lower Professional Building was originally built in 1912 with 14 floors above ground and a total heigh of 192 feet.  This architectural gem was renovated in 2005 with extensive remodeling to floors 3 through 12 which now house 131 condo units.

The Lower Condos are beautifully appointed in a loft style with concrete or terrazzo floors, large windows and exposed HVAC ductwork.  The building is also home to office, retail and restaurant tenants led by Pazzaluna Restaurant - featuring some of St. Paul's finest Italian cuisine.


Chanhassen, Apple Valley & Savage Ranked 'Best Places to Live'

Several Twin Cities suburbs made Money Magazine’s 2013 list of the best small towns to live in. Apple Valley MN, Chanhassen MN and Savage MN were ranked in the top 50 of the most highly rated communities national.

Chanhassen jumped from 10th place in 2011 to fourth this year. Apple Valley ended up at 17 and Savage jumped to 21, all the way from 51st in 2011.

Money Magazine’s list covers cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000. It takes into account of such ­factors as local incomes, crime rates and schools, as well as amenities such as Savage’s new sports dome and walkable downtown.

Topping the “Best Places to Live” list was Sharon, Mass. Now for the information you’ve been waiting for!

Chanhassen, MN

Top 50 rank: 4
Population: 23,685

Chanhassen was affected by Minnesota's woes during the downturn, but the town is bouncing back and taking fresh steps to improve. The area school district recently provided $700,000 in grants for classroom tech projects and is now rolling out Wi-Fi on all school buses. The town also beefed up commuter options.
The housing market, which took a big hit, is surging back. Jobs have remained strong, and nearby Minneapolis offers big-name employers like Target and the Mayo Clinic.

One perk of Twin Cities-area living is access to the great outdoors. Chanhassen MN's highlights include 34 parks, 90 miles of trails, and the 1,137-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. When below-zero wind chills set in, there's February Festival with ice-fishing contests, sledding, and cookouts.

Apple Valley, MN

Top 50 rank: 17
Population: 49,863

If you don't mind cold winters, there's plenty to recommend this family-friendly Twin Cities suburb. There's a wide range of affordable ...

Experience a 19th Century Victorian Christmas

The Alexander Ramesy House in downtown St. Paul will open to the public for the holiday season on November 14th and run until December 30th. What makes this house special and worth checking out?

The historic preserved pre-Victorian home will be decorated for the season, but a la 1875. The beautiful home will beam with Victorian Christmas decorations and dated Ramsey personal items. The house hosts its visitors to experience Christmas long before our time. The house circulates smells of cookies from a wood burning stove and sounds of Christmas music drifting from a classic Steinway piano. This is a great chance to experience Christmas in a new and historic way.

To learn more or for ticket information, visit the Alexander Ramsey site.



Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Home For Sale

Like unique homes? There is a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired residence available on the market. Larry and Fern Willson built their own Taliesin, Wright's landmark home in Wisconsin.

"We've always loved his prairie-style architecture and have visited some of his homes," said Larry. "We like open design and wanted to be able to see the outdoors from inside every room."

The couple collaborated with an architect to build the two-story home in 1992 on almost five wooded acres in Inver Grove Heights. After they sell, the Willsons plan to move closer to family and build another Wright-inspired home in Hudson, Wis.

The 2,952-square-foot Wright-style home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The kitchen was recently updated with granite countertops and new appliances. The master bedroom loft features a balcony overlooking the living room. It includes a number of built-ins in a variety of woods, a massive stone fireplace that spans three levels and deep exterior overhangs. The walkout lower level offers a bird's-eye view of trees, perennial gardens and wildlife.

Located 5 miles from Inver Grove Heights shopping and near downtown St. Paul, this home is priced at $494,900.

See our listing for this Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home
View other homes in Inver Grove Heights MN
Source: A taste of Frank Lloyd Wright - Star Tribune


Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul has Potential Buyers - Again!

Two buyers who plan to turn the 15-acre old Schmidt Brewery complex in St. Paul into housing, stores and offices. They're also helping to get the property, which lies about 2 miles west of downtown Saint Paul on W. 7th Street, designated as a historic place. It's the fourth attempt since 2004 to redevelop the site.

Real estate development company Dominion would build 235 units of low-income rental housing where artists could live and work, including 16 rental townhouses targeted at families. The West Seventh/Fort Road Federation, the neighborhood's community planning and development group, intends to buy the front office building and restore the basement rathskeller to a bar/restaurant and have space for offices. The nonprofit also is looking to buy the keg house to use for retail businesses and an acre of land for other uses. Closings on both deals are expected in 2011.

Beer was brewed on the site beginning in the mid-1850s. In 1991, a group led by businessman Bruce Hendry bought and reopened the brewery. Beermaking continued until 2002, when Minnesota Brewing Co. closed. Gopher State Ethanol, which began production in 2000, operated at the plant until 2004, when it closed and filed for bankruptcy. The property owners have been trying to sell since then.

Negotiations have proceeded this far in the past and failed, including once before with these same two parties in 2008. But they are more confident this time because of support from the city, a new financing option from the state and a willingness to pursue making the complex a historic district.


What $92,900 Buys in Saint Paul's Midway-Saint Anthony Area

Here is MLS #  3881546



This single-family home at 960 Edmund Avenue is in the Saint Anthony - Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul MN. This cute home with Old World charm was built in 1913. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and 1,500-square-feet of space.


This home features a fully modernized kitchen, updated bathroom, and a built-in A/C system for those humid Minnesota summers.




This St. Paul house features beautiful natural woodwork and solid wood floors in the dining room and living room.

Located in a convenient location with a short commute to either downtown, it could be yours for just $92,900! This is not a foreclosure home or short sale!

Browse more Saint Paul MN Real Estate and homes for sale.


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.


I-94 from Downtown Saint Paul & Downtown Minneapolis to be Repaved

The stretch of Interstate 94 between downtown Saint Paul and downtown Minneapolis will get a repaving makeover. The 2-year project will begin this summer.

Crews will complete the $45 million project in two phases, beginning this year with the east section between Hwy. 280 to near John Ireland Boulevard.

The west section, from Hwy. 280 to near 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis, will be done in 2011, said Todd Kramascz, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Crews will remove the top layer of I-94's pavement and lay down new asphalt, while also making improvements to curbs, gutters and guardrails. The shoulders, often used by buses during rush hours, also will be improved.

The 12-mile stretch of road is one of the busiest in Minnesota. It will remain open during construction, but travel will be disrupted by shfiting lane and ramp closures. Alternate routes may be in order sometimes.


Saint Paul Homes for $1 - And a Catch

Believe it or not, the City of Saint Paul is having a hard time finding buyers willing to pay as little as $1 to purchase homes in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.

The city bought 11 properties on or near East 4th. The most expensive one is $50,000 and the cheapest two are just $1. The catch is that homes need lots of work, and the city is expecting whoever moves in to spend around $100,000, or perhaps more, on renovations and upgrades. All a buyer has to do is be able to prove is that they can rehab the homes to meet city rules and preservation codes.

"This isn't just about providing shelter," City Council President Kathy Lantry said of the renovation project. "This is about people who want to invest in a home, and live there, and become part of a neighborhood."

The historic neighborhood has a lot of things homebuyers would want. It's close to downtown Saint Paul, it's close to bus routes and Interstate 94, and it's filled with unique homes.

Because interest is falling off, the city is considering paying for some of the renovations to give homebuyers a head start. In the meantime, potential homebuyers who have money to invest, a lot of patience, and some know how can get started for just a dollar. These are very likely not houses for first time home buyers.


Saint Paul's Minnesota Building Getting a Makeover

The former 3M headquarters, now known as Beacon Bluff, isn't the only Saint Paul location currently being recycled for new purposes. The Minnesota Building in downtown Saint Paul MN is in the early stages of getting a long-awaited makeover.

Interior demolition has begun inside the 13-story building at 46 E. Fourth Street in St. Paul, the first step toward redeveloping the 101,000-square-foot, 80-year-old structure for 137 rental housing units. The plan also calls for 10,000 square feet of commercial and office space.
Overall, the projects will create 252 new housing units and preserve 35 affordable units; the city estimates that the work will provide as many as 300 construction jobs.
Sand Companies CEO Jamie Thelen describes the Art Deco Minnesota Building project as a “historic rehab.” He hopes to complete construction by the end of the year.
Plans to redevelop the Minnesota Building for residential use have been in the works for years. Recent tenants have been the Salon du Nord art gallery, Friends of the Mississippi River and Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy. No specific new tenants for the commercial or office spaces have been named yet....

Relic of Saint Paul's First Mass-Transit System Found

Crews digging under Fourth Street in downtown St. Paul for the proposed Central Corridor light-rail line unearthed a piece of its 1800s predecessor, the cable car. Officials have decided to preserve the U-shaped "iron yoke" and upon completion of the 11-mile Central Corridor, display it at the proposed Union Depot station in St. Paul.

Unlike electric streetcars or modern light rail, cable cars had no internal power supply. Their systems consisted of narrow-gauge tracks split by an open groove. Under the groove, a single continuous cable ran the entire length of the line, constantly in motion. Cable car operators controlled a device that grabbed the cable, which pulled the car along. The iron yokes sat U-side-up a few inches beneath grade, protecting the cable.

Yes, St. Paul had a cable car system. Though they were invented in San Francisco in the 1870s, they exploded across the United States.  By 1889, St. Paul had two cable car lines operated by the St. Paul City Railway Co. One line ran along East Seventh Street from Wabasha Street downtown to Duluth Street on the city's East Side. The other ran along Fourth from Broadway to Seven Corners, climbed Selby Hill and followed Selby Avenue to Fairview Avenue.

There will likely be more artifacts found. Tracks from streetcars that ran along University Avenue remain and were simply submerged when the roadway was paved over years ago. If the light-rail project moves forward, those tracks are scheduled to be removed once the digging begins.

Cold facts: Cable cars were heated in the winter by small coal-burning stove.


Mortenson Construction to Lead St. Paul Union Depot Renovation

The Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority has picked Mortenson Construction to lead the $150 million renovation of the historic Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. The county's goal has been to restore the depot into a regional transportation hub for trains, buses, bikes and taxis.

The block-long building faces 4th Street and sits between Wacouta and Sibley Streets. County officials estimate the project will bring up to 1,350 jobs during design and construction. Construction is expected to be completed in 2012.

Rail Authority commissioners have also approved giving the Metropolitan Council up to $82,000 for a study of how three additional stations along University Avenue, at Hamline, Victoria and Western Avenues, would affect the areas when the Central Corridor light-rail line is built.

The 11-mile Central Corridor will connect downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis and is expected to begin running in 2014.


Weekend Holiday Events in Afton & Stillwater

There are two community holiday celebrations coming up this weekend.

Afton Village Holiday

The annual "Village Holiday" in Afton MN is a 3-day holiday tradition event. It starts this Friday and features complimentary horse and wagon rides, strolling carolers, Victorian tree decorating, story time and free events for children, among other activities.

Friday's events run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Saturday and Sunday events begin at 9 a.m.

Afton is about 20 minutes east of downtown St. Paul. For a complete schedule, see

Stillwater Twinkle Parade

A Twinkle Parade along the St. Croix River and a Hometown for the Holidays celebration will be held Saturday in downtown Stillwater MN.

Children should gather by 4:30 p.m. at the Dock Cafe to receive "twinkle necklaces" and goodie bags. The parade will start at 5 p.m. at the cafe and end at the Lowell Park Gazebo. There, Santa Claus will arrive via fire truck. Additionally, the tree lighting will be from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. at Lowell Park. The celebration there will include carolers, hot chocolate and cookies.

For more information, go to


New Housing Proposed for Downtown Saint Paul

Developer Aeon is waiting for St. Paul's Renaissance Box to be granted a historic certification by the federal government. Then, it will commence in gutting and transforming it into 70 affordable housing units.

The Renaissance Box project is aimed at offering affordable housing to people who have jobs at downtown Saint Paul restaurants, hospitals or other service. 56 units will be a mix of efficiency and one- and two-bedroom apartments targeted at buyers who make between $21,000 and $42,000. The remaining 14 units will be for people who earn between $10,000 and $17,000 and have been homeless.

Located at 509 Sibley Street in Saint Paul MN, the Renaissance Box was built in 1914 and used to house what was once one of the biggest footwear factories in Minnesota, the O'Donnell Shoe Co. Affordable housing developer Aeon, based in Minneapolis, bought the building out of a foreclosure situation in 2006.

Financing for the $16 million project is coming from a combination of state and city funds, foundation grants and private investors using federal tax credits. An additional allotment of tax credits through the federal stimulus program helped the project fill in gaps.

Construction is expected to begin early next year and wrap up in early 2011.


RiverCentre Gets Green in Saint Paul

Two stories about the RiverCentre in St. Paul:

First, a $2 million, 1-megawatt solar energy system will be installed on the roof of the St. Paul RiverCentre. It will be the largest solar-energy installation in the state.

District Energy St. Paul, which provides heating and cooling for downtown's commercial and residential buildings, will provide funds for its construction of $1 million, in addition to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The system will heat water for downtown and offset energy that District Energy St. Paul expends burning waste wood for its heating system. It should be running by the end of 2010.

Second, officials are working on cutting the amount of trash generated at Saint Paul's RiverCentre. Visitors to the RiverCentre complex produced more than 2.8 million pounds of garbage during last year's events. To combat the trash problem, an ambitious recycling program will soon be rolled out.

The "50-50 in 2" program promotes new recycling and composting measures aimed at getting total waste to half trash and half recycling in two years. Right now, the complex recycles about 15%t of its waste.

280 new recycling bins have been paired with trash cans, as well as receptacles that encourage the disposal of recyclables, compost, paper and trash products separately. The facility has also begun composting unused food.

The facility avoids paying a 70% tax on trash products by composting more materials. And the complex will make money on recycling such materials as cardboard, cooking oil and shrink-wrap.

The "50-50 in 2" programis also being rolled out at Xcel Energy Center and the Roy Wilkins Auditorium.


Community Highlights ~ South Saint Paul MN

The city of South St. Paul is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, directly east of Minnesota’s capitol city of Saint Paul. Just a 15 minute drive to downtown Saint Paul, it was designated as an All American City in 1990. South St. Paul is the embodiment of small town living basking in the nearby glow of big city lights.

South St. Paul's population of about 20,000 is active and involved in its community in a wide variety of councils and volunteer opportunities. South St. Paul also boasts a vast network of more 180 acres of public parks and recreational land, including lakes for water recreation and walking and hiking trails along the banks of the Mississippi River. More popular local recreational activities around South Saint Paul include ice skating and cross-country skiing in the winter, and a year-round community theater.

Sound like your ideal community? South St. Paul real estate offers a variety of housing stock, from single family homes to condominiums and planned communities.

Learn more about South Saint Paul MN real estate.


Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for February 2009

According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities, new posted listings for homes in St. Paul MN, decreased in February.  There were 480 new listings in Saint Paul throughout the month, compared to the 602 homes put up on the market during February 2008.  That is a decline of -20.3%.  In contrast, there were 548 new listings in January 2009.  The Merriam Park neighborhood and West 7th neighborhood of St. Paul experienced increases in posted new listings, while rest saw their listings decrease.

For the year to date posted new listings in St. Paul, the picture looks just a little different. For February and January, there were 1,027 new listings, compared to the 1,164 during the same time frame of 2008. That’s a -11.8% reduction.  The Greater East Side, Merriam Park, and West 7th neighborhoods saw a rise in listings up to +17.4%; other Saint Paul neighborhood listings dropped.

There were many homes sold in Saint Paul in February compared to 2008.  There were 202 homes sold throughout the month, a full +27.0% increase over the 159 homes sold in February of 2008!  Rates at which homes were selling varied from neighborhood to neighborhood, with the biggest differences seen in West Side/Cherokee...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for January 2009

The first St. Paul real estate market analysis for the year of 2009! New posted listings for homes in St. Paul, Minnesota, decreased in January according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  During the month, there were 548 new listings in Saint Paul, compared to the 562 homes put up on the market during January 2008.  That is a decrease of just -2.5%.  It was a mixed bag when the posted new listings are broken out by neighborhood, as some big increases while others saw decreases. Here is a breakdown of new listings by Saint Paul neighborhood:

The number of homes sold within St. Paul, Minnesota, in January 2009 is higher than the same month of 2008, a trend that has been running for a few months.  There were 170 homes sold throughout the month, a +7.6% increase over the 158 homes sold in January 2008.  Closed sales on homes for January 2009 in Saint Paul by neighborhood:

The prices of homes sold in St. Paul have continued to fall.  The average sales price of a home sold in January was $111,222, a negative change from the $205,897 of January2008.  That is a decrease of -46.0%. Only the West 7th neighborhood saw an increase in real estate prices in January. The percentage...

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