Saint Paul

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.


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 ...

Young Flat Earth Brewery Expanding Into Old Hamm's Brewery

There’s a new story on the local Minnesota beer front and it isn’t the Surly Brewery going up in Minneapolis. Flat Earth Brewing Co., part of the Twin Cities’ growing craft beer economy, plans to expand into several abandoned buildings at the old Hamm’s Brewery in the East Side neighborhood of St. Paul.

The microbrewer has won initial approval from the city for a $375,000 loan to spur the move from its current quarters on Benson Avenue. If and when the City Council approves the loan, Flat Earth will move its brewing operation into Building 8, which is the former Hamm’s keg-washing operation. Flat Earth is also looking at Buildings 7 and 9 for future use as a public tap/tasting room and maybe a beer garden.

East Side of Saint Paul Hamm's Brewer

The St. Paul-based microbrewer wants to increase production and expand its distribution network outside of Minnesota. Brews such as Angry Planet Pale Ale and Livid Planet Pale Ale and seasonal favorite Black Helicopter Coffee Stout are popular among Twin Cities beer-drinkers, but there hasn’t been room to produce more. Privately held Flat Earth produced 1,300 barrels of beer in 2012.

Flat Earth will be renovating and retrofitting buildings that have been part of St. Paul’s East Side for about 150 years. Building 9, a former carpentry shop that dates back to 1864 and 1867, is in bad shape, especially after a fire that occurred in 2005. Buildings 7 and 8, erected in...

What $125,000 Buys in Saint Paul's Greater East Side

Here is MLS # 4360646


This unassuming home located at 2018 Cottage Ave E in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,670-square-feet of space. The house is in the Greater East Side neighborhood of Saint Paul.


Built in 1921, this home has loads of character. Its features include a great front porch, hardwood floors, and an amusement room with a wet bar.


It’s in a nice quiet neighborhood. It’s on a treed lot so it feels a bit private, but yet it is still conveniently in the city.. Priced to sell, this Greater East Side home can be yours for $125,000!


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What $329,500 Buys in Saint Paul's Macalester-Groveland Neighborhood

Here is MLS #  4314643


This stunning home is located at 555 Cretin Ave S in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,940-square-feet of space. The house is in the high-demand neighborhood of Macalester Groveland.


Built in 1950, it has been recently renovated, including a custom kitchen with slate and hardwood floors. It also has a new furnace/AC, roof, windows, garage and more.


Brr! Light a fire in the fireplace, wrap up in a blanket and cozy up against the cold in your new home. This Mac-Groveland home can be yours for $329,500!

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What $225,000 Buys in Saint Paul's Macalester-Groveland Neighborhood

Here is MLS # 4114871


This one-and-a-half story home located at 2110 Juliet Avenue is in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul MN. This wonderful home in a premium location was built in 1922. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1,100-square-feet of space.


This well-cared for home has an updated kitchen and a built-in buffet.


For $225,00, you could be enjoying the large front porch, hardwood floors, and large fenced in backyard.

Browse more Macalester-Groveland Saint Paul MN Real Estate.

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Top 10 Saint Paul Real Estate Blog Posts of 2011

There is always something interesting happening in the world of Twin Cities real estate. And we've written about many of those events and stories here at the Homes of Minnesota Saint Paul Real Estate Blog! Read on to find out what our most popular posts were for 2011.

Saint Paul & Minneapolis Residents Happier Than Most

In November, Men’s Health Magazine released a list of 100 American cities and the overall level of happiness of the citizens who live there. Both of the Twin Cities ranked in the top 20, with St. Paul receiving an A- for an overall grade and Minneapolis a B+.

Mid-Century Modern Home Tour in the Twin Cities

Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area have many home tours that occur between spring and fall. Seven mid-century modern homes around the metro were open for public viewing. The Mid-Century Modern Home Tour was self-guided through seven homes that ranged from a Frank Lloyd Wright home to a California modern house with courtyards.

Razing Houses to Improve Housing Stock in the Twin Cities

Too much of Minnesota's housing stock is old and outdated. When homes are beyond the scope of reasonable repair or rebabilitation, it can be more worthwhile to demolish them. South St. Paul's Housing and Redevelopment Authority buys and razes these types of properties as part of a program to clear old lots for new housing.


Saint Paul & Minneapolis Residents Happier Than Most

Men’s Health Magazine recently released a list of 100 American cities and the overall happiness level of their citizens. Would you be surprised to know the Twin Cities ranked in the top 20?

Saint Paul is listed as the eighth happiest city on the list. Its Minneapolis neighbor to the west ranked a less-cheerful-but-still-impressive 14th. St. Paul received an A- for an overall grade, while Minneapolis earned a B+.

The results were calculated using an algorithm that took into account suicide rates, unemployment numbers, antidepressant usage and a measure of people who report feeling “blue”.

The top 10 happiest cities are as follows:

1. Honolulu, HI ~ A+
2. Manchester, NH ~ A
3. Fargo, ND ~ A
4. Omaha, NE ~ A
5. Boston, MA ~ A-
6. Madison, WI ~ A-
7. Sioux Falls, SD ~ A-
8. St. Paul, MN ~ A-
9. Burlington, VT ~ A-
10. Plano, TX ~ A-

The 10 saddest cities, according to Men's Health, are:

91. Las Vegas, NV ~ F
92. Reno, NV ~ F
93. Miami, FL ~ F
94. Birmingham, AL ~ F
95. St. Louis, MO ~ F
96. Louisville, KY ~ F
97. Tampa, FL ~ F
98. Memphis, TN ~ F
99. Detroit, MI ~ F
100. St. Petersburg, FL ~ F

“Men’s Health” says it found that even locations with abundant sunshine and warmth were particularly susceptable to the blues. Researchers also discovered that bike paths and parks play a role in how happy residents are, allowing people to recover from stress and fatigue. Green space and bike paths, of course, are abundant in the Twin Cities.

For the full list, visit

Source: ...

2011 Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour

The 2011 Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour is coming up this weekend. Homes on the free, self-guided tour will be open Saturday, April 30, from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday, May 1, from 1 pm to 5 pm.

The Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour is coordinated by Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) and the City of Saint Paul Planning and Economic Development department with other corporate and non-profit sponsors. On the tour of “real homes, real people, real ideas,” residents open their doors to show creative and practical ideas for home additions, kitchens, bathrooms and more. Visitors can talk directly with 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.

Additionally, at 1:30 p.m. on each day, Bev Fiman will lead a walking tour of a few blocks in the Minneapolis Folwell neighborhood, stepping off from 3405 Humboldt Ave. N. Fiman has conducted tours at the Purcell Cutts house and is an architecture enthusiast. The tour route will highlight elements of various housing styles which brought the working people’s homes in this neighborhood dignity and distinction.


What $299,900 Buys in Saint Paul MN

Here is MLS # 4015764


This charming duplex is located at 659 Wilder Street South in St. Paul, Minnesota. This home has 2,228-square-feet and was constructed in 1929 in the Highland Park neighborhood. Each unit has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.


Each unit also has generous living spaces, hardwood floors, and updated electical and plumbing. The kitchens and bathrooms have also recently been remodeled.



This duplex would be great for an owner occupant or an investor. It could be yours for $299,900!

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Twin Cities Parade of Homes Spring Preview ~ 2011

On March 5, the Parade of Homes Spring Preview opened the doors to model homes and neighborhoods across the Twin Cities.

The Parade of Homes offers access to 342 new homes and communities located in 74 cities throughout the Minneapolis - St. Paul Metro Area. There are 146 builders and developers participating in the 2011 installation of the annual event. There is a total value of $163,076,794 in houses on tour, encompassing 865,986 finished square feet for viewing. There are a total of 1,216 bedrooms and 1,060 bathrooms open to tour.

Homes on the tour are various in price and location; there is sure to be something for everyone. Five are priced below $150,000. About 70% of the entries, a total of 229 homes, are priced below $500,000. Seventeen homes are priced over $1,000,000, with two of those priced at over $3,000,000.

New this time is an Energy Efficient Home Tour, with 94 verified homes, which gives visitors a chance to tour a wide variety of energy efficient homes.  The newly built Twin Cities houses incorporate innovative energy-saving materials, construction methods and designs. These energy-savers also range of prices and styles, from a $138,000 multi-level townhouse in Rosemount to a $1.5 million lakeside retreat in Hugo.

Finally, visit the Dream Homes - three truly unparalleled homes to tour. The $5.00 donation at the door helps the Builders Outreach Foundation continue its mission of promoting homeownership through affordable housing and to contribute to the revitalization of communities.

The residences on the Parade of Homes Tour are open Thursday - Sunday through April 3.

For more information, visit


Minnesota Home & Patio Show 2011

Do you have plans for this weekend? The 32nd annual Minnesota Home & Patio Show will be at the Saint Paul RiverCentre February 17 through 20, 2011. More than 400 local and national manufacturers and retailers will be on site, offering creative solutions for home project needs.

The Home & Patio Show in Saint Paul is a great place to gather information, get ideas and be inspired for the upcoming spring home improvement and gardening project season. Whether you're planning to replace those windows, or to give the garden a makeover, you can find the resources you need at the Home & Patio Show. Attendees can learn about the landscaping, see new building materials, buy lawncare equipment or pick up some new tools. Architects, building suppliers, contractors, interior designers and landscaping firms will be available to discuss new home construction, remodeling projects, energy conservation, landscaping needs and other renovation projects.

A variety of demonstrations, presentations, and exhibitions will be available for viewing and learning. PBS old-house expert Bob Yapp will be in town Feb. 20 for two presentations sponsored by the Twin Cities Bungalow Club. How-to help will available every day from the home improvement coaches from Home Depot.

Tickets are available for purchase on the day of the show. For more information, visit


Vacant Buildings Decline in Saint Paul

The number of registered vacant houses in the city of St. Paul has been dropping since hitting its peak in 2008. The number of houses being fixed up and put back on the tax rolls has also been increasing steadily.

The number of registered vacant buildings in the city went from 370 in 2004 to a record of more than 2,000 in 2008. The number decreased to 1,600 in 2009 and about 1,500 last year. About 90% of the vacant properties are single-family residences or duplexes. Vacant houses only make up about 2 to 3% of all residential buildings in Saint Paul, but they're not spread out. It's the concentration of abandoned homes in some neighborhoods that has caused problems.

Monitoring and managing vacant buildings has stressed city resources and compromised neighborhood vitality. The Department of Safety and Inspections, which enforces codes and handles demolitions, spent $338,000 dealing with vacant properties in 2005. This year, the budget is $1.1 million.

Part of the decline in vacant buildings is due to a new ordinance that took effect in 2008 that puts more requirements on owners of vacant properties. It now costs $1,100 to register a vacant building with the city. The condition of a building also determines how easy it will be to sell a vacant home. If it has severe safety code violations, it's labeled Category 3 and no one can buy a vacant home until the owner fixes it up.

The majority of vacant buildings registered with the city are labeled as Category 2, meaning they have multiple safety code violations that need pretty expensive repairs but can be sold if the buyer has the means to do the work. The number of those buildings being fixed and sold is helping to reduce the overall number.

A city the size of St. Paul always will have some number of vacant buildings, but the spike in recent years has been...

Homestead Pride in Saint Paul's Summit Hill Neighborhood

The first mansions of Summit Avenue in Saint Paul started going up nearly 150 years ago, evolving over time to become one of the city's swankiest neighborhoods. Residents want to celebrate that history with house plaques that display when their homes were constructed.

The Summit Hill Association plans to connect homeowners with vendors and contractors qualified to install house plaques on their properties. Association members have said the plaques would likely resemble the markers typically associated with the National Register of Historic Places, regardless of whether the home actually sits within one of the area's two federally defined historic districts. The association — one of the city's 17 official planning districts — floated the idea in its newsletter last month. So far, 13 homeowners have signed up for more information.

The idea of encouraging homeowners to buy historic plaques isn't new. Throughout the country, historic preservation commissions often designate uniform designs for home plaques within historic districts. A private homeowners' group in the Summit Hill area, called the Ramsey Hill Association, followed a similar tack in the 1980s.

A sizable area around Summit Avenue lies within two different national and two different local historic districts. The Hill Historic District and the Summit Avenue West Historic Districts are the national designations. The Hill Historic District runs east-to-west along Summit Avenue from the St. Paul Cathedral to Lexington Avenue. The Summit Avenue West Historic District is an adjoining area along Summit Avenue from Mississippi River Boulevard to Lexington Avenue. The local districts include Summit Hill, a triangular region from Lexington Avenue on the west, Summit Avenue on the north, and the bluffs on the south, and Ramsey Hill, the area bounded by Summit Avenue, Dale Street, Interstate Highway 94, and a line running north...

Minnesota: Snow Buildup Puts Roofs At Risk

Officials in Saint Paul and other Twin Cities communities are warning about roof safety following record snowfall in December and more precipitation likely to come soon.

"There isn't only the potential problem of leaking from growing ice dams, but there is also the real potential for structural roof collapse," Ricardo Cervantes, director of the city's Department of Safety and Inspections, said in a statement. "The impending water retention from rainfall, particularly on large flat roofs, will only compound the problem."

The Department of Safety and Inspections said people should use caution when removing ice dams and snow from roofs. If it is not done properly, the integrity of the roof could be put at risk. Additionally, clearing a roof is dangerous even for the most experienced homeowner. Calling on a professional to perform the work should be a serious consderation.

At Regions Hospital in St. Paul, five people were admitted in late December after falling from roofs. The injuries have included fractures of the spine, elbow and pelvis. Two people died.

Places to monitor snow buildup include around combustion air intakes, gas meters and hazards from large icicles. Keep exit doors and windows free of ice and snow so they can be used during an emergency.

Twin Cities area fire departments also recently asked for the public's help in digging out the metro area's many fire hydrants. There should be at least a foot clear around hydrants, down to the ground and out to the street. This simple act can save both lives and property.


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.


Twin Cities: Live Near a Fire Hydrant? Adopt It!

With all of the snow the Twin Cities area had had recently, officials in communities throughout the metro are asking residents to "adopt" fire hydrants near their homes. Keeping them clear of snow and making sure they aren't blocked by snow banks is a matter of public safety.

Burnsville MN has 4,000 fire hydrants. Eagan MN has 5,000. The City of Saint Paul has nearly 10,000. That's a lot of fire hydrants to keep clear. As a result, nearly every city in the metro has a variation of the adopt-a-hydrant program. But you don't need to officially "adopt" a hydrant to have an interest in clearing snow from one near your house if you see it is buried.

Hydrants that can't be easily seen under snow and those that can't be reached because of snowbanks put lives and property in danger. Prime examples of how this can hamper rescue efforts occurred last week when the Twin Cities was hit with the largest snowstorm in years. Two people died in a house fire in Minneapolis on Sunday and a three-alarm fire ravaged a commercial building at 822 Prior Avenue in St. Paul, which housed Advance Furniture and Leather Repair.

"When we got there, we had difficulty finding the hydrants," said St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard. "It delayed some of our operations. Because of the snow drifts, we didn't have the water we needed. Would it have made a difference? I don't want to speculate. But it was a big fire."

Although nobody can directly blame a death or major loss on slow access to a fire hydrant, fire officials have made it clear that blocked hydrants are a big concern. Although participation in the various hydrant adoption programs is low, fire officials hope the message gets out that clearing hydrants is important. One group that has responded is the Elks Club. In Brooklyn Park, the local chapter has pledged to clear (and keep...

Saint Paul History Hidden in Plain Sight


John Yust and Tom Schroeder may have discovered the oldest surviving commercial structure in Saint Paul: An unusual house on N. Smith Avenue in the Uppertown neighborhood. Now they're trying to restore it to its 19th century state.

"I drove past that house every day, and there was just something about it that didn't make sense to me," said Yust, an architect who has worked on many historic preservation projects in the Twin Cities.

For several years, the boxy stone house in Saint Paul with oddly placed doors and windows had fascinated them. Then three years ago the house went vacant and the pair had the chance to truly explore the house's historic and architectural mysteries. They were so intrigued Schroeder bought the house for $60,000 in May 2008.

The pair found that the stone house was built by the same stone mason that built Yust's own stone house a few houses away, a German immigrant named Jacob Amos. Digging on the site resulted in boxes full of treasures, including a dog collar with an 1877 license, women's corsets and an 1898 St. Paul Police Manual, with handwritten notes. But most importantly, they discovered that it had not been built to be a house at all, it had first been a saloon that went under after the financial Panic of 1857.

The stone house was built when the Minnesota territory was bustling with land speculation. Between 1850 to 1857, the territory increased in population from about 6,000 to nearly 150,000. Housing for all those people, though, was in short supply and land prices were beginning to skyrocket. In fact, the piece of land on which the...

What $144,900 Buys in Saint Paul's Como Neighborhood

Here is MLS # 3971689

This single-family home is located at 1573 Alameda Street in St. Paul, Minnesota. This 1 1/2-story home was built in 1938. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 900-square-feet of space.




This charming home features new and refinished flooring throughout. The kitchen has recently been updated.




Don't let its small size fool you, there is plenty of space on the upper level and the basement is finished. The property also has an attached garage, a deck, and a fenced backyard.




This house could be yours for $144,900!

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Saint Paul's $1 3M Campus Challenge

As part of an effort to redevelop a 61-acre site in St. Paul's Dayton's Bluff, which includes an old 3M Co. campus, the St. Paul Port Authority is selling four buildings for $1 to the new Ironton Asset Fund. But there's a big hitch.

Jim Stolpestad, manager of the Ironton Asset Fund, is ready to take on the challenge. To get the buildings, Stolpestad and his group have to come up with a plan for how to reuse the buildings and get leases signed with tenants who agree to hire a certain number of workers depending on the size of the space. They have to make a good-faith effort to hire St. Paul residents and pay them at least $11 per hour plus benefits. And he has to do it in one year. A tall order, right?

The $1 package includes Building 21, 3M's former corporate headquarters, which was built in 1939 with restrained Moderne styling. Preservationists consider it significant. The buildings qualify for state and federal historic tax credits. Many other buildings on the site already have been demolished.

The Ironton Asset Fund is a $10 million fund with about 22 investors investing in distressed assets. The fund's first purchase was the old Chittenden & Eastman Building on University Avenue in St. Paul, which will be converted into market-rate apartments.

The Port Authority calls it the largest redevelopment project it's pursued in 20 years.

"It's certainly the most exciting thing on our plate right now," said Monte Hilleman, the Port Authority's vice president of redevelopment.

The clock is ticking. If the plan doesn't materialize, the future of the four buildings is in question. But as an East Side native, where the project is actually located, he could have a good shot at accomplishing his task.

Read more at the Star Tribune.

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