Thomas Dale

Planned New Neighborhood Holds Promise for Saint Paul

Civic, community, educational and political leaders in Saint Paul want to create a long-term plan to revitalize the Frogtown and Summit-University neighborhoods.

Along with 339 other communities in the U.S., the Wilder Foundation of St. Paul has applied for a $500,000 grant to plan the Promise Neighborhood. This Saint Paul neighborhood would be designed to improve the lives of its residents by focusing on the health and well-being of children and families.

From making more fruit and veggie servings available to prekindergarten children to tracking students's progress through college, the Promise Neighborhood idea is sometimes referred to as a "cradle-to-career" approach. The Promise Neighborhood's proposed all-emcompassing philosophy is modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone. The Harlem Children's Zone Project is a unique, holistic approach to rebuilding a community so that its children can stay on track through college and go on to the job market.

Whether St. Paul gets the grant or not, officials plan to move forward with the vision anyway. Community meetings could start as soon as this summer. Actually, some of the ideas envisioned for the Promise Neighborhood are already in different stages of implementation in St. Paul. One of those programs is Achievement Plus, which brings additional learning opportunities and support to students at three St. Paul elementary schools: Dayton's Bluff, North End and John A. Johnson.

Officials have secured the equivalent of $250,000 in matching donations if the grant is awarded, which includes $160,000 from local foundations.

The U.S. Department of Education will award the grants this year. Afterwards, it will begin accepting applications...

In Saint Paul, An Urban Farm Has Sprouted

An empty city lot in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul is being converted into an urban garden. The transformation is part of a nationwide effort to bring fresh foods to places where it may be hard to acquire.

The garden is sprouting up thanks to the Urban Farming organization. Urban Farming has planted 50 gardens in 20 cities across the nation. St. Paul was the last stop.

"It's amazing how much food you can grow in a small area," [founder of Urban Farming] Taja Sevelle said. "We're encouraging people to grow their own food at home and get back to the simple basics of growing your own food."

"We have a beautification aspect to it, environmental aspect to it, this is the perfect opportunity to add this proponent of edible gardens and vegetable gardens," Jill Henricksen said, Executive Director of Frogtown Community Development.

This project serves multiple purposes. As people tend the garden, a sense of community will grow along with the vegetables. Newbie gardeners will be able to pick up tips from avid green thumbs. And of course, the urban farm will produce healthy foods for both the gardeners and families in need. As food ripens, people can respectfully take what they need.

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City of Saint Paul First Time Home Buyer Programs

There are many programs available to first time home buyers throughout the City of Saint Paul and in some cases, specific St. Paul neighborhoods.

In particular, the CityLiving Home Program offered by the Saint Paul Home Loan Fund makes home ownership affordable. Through a joint effort shared with the City of Minneapolis, St. Paul offers mortgage loans and home improvement loans through the program. CityLiving loans offer homebuyers an opportunity to purchase St. Paul homes at an interest rate that historically has ranked well below market rates. This program has helped low- and moderate-income families for 20 years. More than 10,000 people have purchased a home through the CityLiving program. Read more information about Saint Paul's CityLiving Home Program.

There is also the Invest Saint Paul program. This collaborative effort is intended to strategically channel city government and private resources into revitalizing and redeveloping four key neighborhoods of St. Paul.  Those neighborhoods are Dayton’s Bluff, Frogtown, the East Side, and the North End.  The goal of Invest St. Paul is to turn the tide of foreclosures and entice new residents into buying real estate in these areas.

The Make it Possible Program, or MPP, is a second mortgage product provided by the Family Housing Fund (FHF).  Under the MPP, a 3% down payment is required of home buyers.  Borrowers who qualify for a first mortgage representing 80% or less of the appraised value of the property through a private mortgage lender will be able to receive the difference of up to 20% of the remaining value in a second mortgage loaned at 3.5% payable over a...

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...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for December 2008

This is the final St. Paul real estate market analysis for the year of 2008.  According to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities, new posted listings for homes in St. Paul, Minnesota, increased in December.  There were 399 new listings in St. Paul, compared to the 351 homes put up on the market during the same month of 2007, which adds up to an increase of +13.7%.  Unlike November, lots of neighborhoods in Saint Paul saw increases in new listings.  The increase is a little unusual, because December is obviously a month full of holidays and most people don’t want the hassle of putting their house up on the market.

There were 6,859 new listings of homes for sale in St. Paul that were posted within the 2008 year.  That is a decline of -8.8% from the 7,520 homes listed throughout the year of 2007.  The neighborhoods of Mac-Groveland, St. Anthony / Midway, and West 7th experienced the greatest declines in new listings.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods have been the only St. Paul neighborhoods that saw boosts in new listings compared to 2007.

There was a higher number of homes sold within St. Paul, Minnesota, in December 2008 than in 2007.  There were 217 homes sold during the month, +5.9% more than the 205 homes sold during December of 2007.  There were 3,046 closed sales in Saint Paul...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for November 2008

New posted listings for homes in Saint Paul, Minnesota, decreased during November according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  Throughout the month, there were 398 new listings in St. Paul.  In the previous year, there were 481 new listings during November.  That is a -17.3% reduction in new listings, comparatively.  The only neighborhoods of St. Paul which saw increases in posted new listings of homes for sale were Phalen and Merriam Park.  A drop off in new listings is to be expected now and over the next few months as the winter season really starts kicking up snow. 

Saint Paul’s new listings of homes for sale from for the year-to-date from January through November are at 6,460.  That is a decrease of -9.9% from last year’s 7,169 for the same time frame.  Southeast, St. Anthony / Midway, and West 7th neighborhoods are continuing to experience great declines in homes being listed for sale.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee areas have been the only Saint Paul neighborhoods to see boosts in new listings through the month of November.

And now the part that you’ve been waiting for: the good news.  The number of homes sold within St. Paul, Minnesota, during November...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for October 2008

New listings for homes in Saint Paul, Minnesota, fell again during October according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  Throughout the month, there were 515 new listings in St. Paul.  During October of 2007, there were 603 new listings.  That is a decrease of about -14.6%.  Normally, I list the neighborhoods here that saw the greatest decreases in new listings, but there are many which saw decreases of 20% to over 45%.  The only neighborhoods which saw any significant increase of new listings were the Phalen and Merriam Park neighborhoods of Saint Paul

Posted new listings of Saint Paul real estate for the year to date were at 6,062 from January through October.  That is a decrease of -9.4% from last year’s 6,688 during the same time period.  Merriam Park, West 7th, and St. Anthony / Midway continue to experience great decreases in new listings.  The Phalen neighborhod and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods are the only ones to have seen any increases in new listings for the year to date.

Now for a really good number: The amount of homes sold within Saint Paul, ...

Como Pool Closed for Good

A popular summer destination for Saint Paul residents has closed and the end of an era has come to the Como Park neighborhood.  The deteriorating Como Pool, which has been serving the community since 1962, has closed for good due to safety problems and high repair costs.  The decision as to when another pool will be built to fill its absence has not yet been made.

The Como Pool has needed repairs for many years.  Because of mechanical and electrical problems, the City of Saint Paul has decided the pool can't be operated safely.  The infrastructure is now so old that repairs would far outrun its value.  Bringing it fully up to operational code would cost well over $1 million.

Como Pool was built for $161,000 by the private firm Public Pools Inc., which operated it on land leased from the City of St. Paul until 1965 when the firm went out of business. The city then bought the pool for $15,000. 

The outdoor pool attracted 15,000 swimmers each summer until its closure this past September.  Most visitors live in homes the neighborhoods that surround Como Regional Park in St. Paul: Como Park, North End, Thomas-Dale, and Midway.  Those residents are very interested in what will...

Saint Paul Real Estate Market Analysis for September 2008

Changing from what has been happening in recent months, new listings of homes for sale in Saint Paul, Minnesota, rose during September according to the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors’ Market Update for 100 Twin Cities Communities.  During the month, there were 621 new listings in St. Paul.  Throughout September of last year, there were 602 new listings.  That is equal to an increase of about +3.2%!  The Phalen and Highland Park neighborhoods of St. Paul experienced the greatest increase in new listings during September at +44.3% and +32.4% respectively. On the contrary, the West 7th and Merriam Park neighborhoods saw declines in new listings of -45.0% and -50.0% respectively during September. 

Posted new Saint Paul real estate listings from January through September for the year to date were at 5,543.  That is a decrease of -8.9%.  The month of September’s rise in new listings helped to raise that number up a bit that from August’s -10.2%.  If the trend continues in October for new listings in Saint Paul, the real estate market might be on par with posted listings for last year.  Saint Paul's Merriam Park and St. Anthony / Midway had the most extreme decrease in new listings.  The Phalen and West Side / Cherokee neighborhoods have seen...

Saint Paul to Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

St. Paul officials have put some money down on two new loan programs to help homeowners facing foreclosure and buyers unable to secure financing.  The city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority board has approved putting $625,000 into funds for two mortgage incentive programs that will leverage dollars from private organizations. The money will help current homeowners refinance out of bad mortgages and provide an incentive for people to purchase vacant or foreclosed properties in Saint Paul.

The $625,000 comes from the Invest St. Paul program, a $17 million initiative to improve four struggling neighborhoods.  Because of lowering property values, home vacancies, and mortgage foreclosures, the neighborhoods of Frogtown, North End, Lower East Side and Dayton's Bluff have been targeted for the project.  The money will unlock $15 million divided equally between the Make it Possible and Sustainable Home Ownership programs.  The Make It Possible program provides second mortgages, which eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance. The Sustainable Home Ownership program is a contract-for-deed program that gives buyers time to repair credit scores before moving into a conventional mortgage.  Both of these programs will be administered by Dayton's Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services. The Family Housing Fund and University Bank are contributing more than half of the $15 million.

It's just one more idea with which ...

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