We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: downtown St. Paul is on the rise. New development projects are seemingly always popping up, including news of a Northfield developer purchasing the historic (and beautiful) Exchange building with plans to convert it into a boutique hotel. The Pioneer Press also reported on how residential occupancy rates are increasing, along with high-end office space leases. This grade of offices, Class A, offers the most amenities and is therefore the most expensive. When businesses shell out the money for top-notch work spaces, there are a few factors at play. First, the hope would be to attract top talent with an awesome workplace. Secondly, clients like to feel lavished (to a degree) and can appreciate when the business they’re paying doesn’t cut corners – especially on its work. This business strategy isn’t anything new; it just seems that businesses are more willing now to make the investment in downtown St. Paul over other high-demand locales like the North Loop in Minneapolis.
As we learned with the long list of “must-haves” for Amazon’s HQ2, top talent professionals (in other words, people making good money) generally want to live in nice places near where they work or near entertainment. That would be the same reasoning behind the story we discussed last week of a major investment in a luxury mixed-use development near the future site of Allianz Field (home of the Loons). With constant news of St. Paul’s successful revitalization efforts for downtown, it’s no surprise that more luxury apartments are in the works. The project – dubbed Fillmore West – was discussed a few days ago in the Pioneer Press. Located across the river from downtown St. Paul, it would have 640-830 apartments, along with up to 80,000 sq ft of commercial space. People who oppose the plan are sounding the alarm on its lack of affordable housing. With cries of “gentrification”, they say there should be mandated affordable units, given that the city is investing over $2M in the project (though not in the actual housing). The proposed development site is near a current higher-end development: the West Side Flats. The Flats stand in sharp contrast to the rest of the West Side neighborhood of St. Paul, where a remarkably high concentration of poor people live, as noted in the article.
Generally, as more high caliber businesses move to downtown St. Paul, housing in and around the area will see a boost. The West Side, which houses some stunningly gorgeous, historic homes, is one of the few places nearby that has relatively affordable living options – to rent or buy. A higher demand for housing will give prices a little boost up, and improve current owners’ outlook. Of course, the neighborhood also has a bit of a reputation that may cause people to hesitate before moving in. The Fillmore West, which is the proposed development, is on the tips of the neighborhood, giving less reason for pause.
No mistake – this is an area to keep tabs on. If you’d like to explore and check out investment opportunities, please reach out! Call 952-258-3100 or email.
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