The smaller of the two major downtowns, St. Paul, has long been more of an event destination than a regular part of one’s routine. It houses the Science Museum of Minnesota, Xcel Energy Center, CHS Field, the River Center, nearby Minnesota History Center, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and the newly renovated MN Children’s Museum. There are plenty of smaller theatres and top-notch restaurants as well. The vitality of the downtown workforce, on the other hand, has needed some help. As an article in the Star Tribune cited, almost a quarter of the offices in downtown St. Paul were vacant back in 2006. However, thanks to efforts by Mayor Chris Coleman, his trusted advisors and other interested parties, that rate is now less than 17% (as of 2016, as stated in a separate Star Tribune article). In fact, that article also shared that Mayor Coleman has formed an “innovation cabinet” with the goal of creating 3,000 jobs for the area in the next 3 years.
One way by which they plan to make that happen is converting some of the traditional office space into “modern offices” to appeal to tech and other innovative firms, as shared in the article. Private investors have seen a similar opportunity and are currently putting close to $20M into renovating the 1960’s former Ecolab tower, now known as Osborn370 (as reported here). They are hoping to attract entrepreneurial firms, filling smaller spaces vs. a larger corporation taking up large sections of the building. One of the partners involved in the development pointed to downtown Minneapolis’ IDS Center as a comparable end goal. Then there’s the transformed Macy’s building, which will be known as Treasure Island Center, as reported here. The building will be mixed-use, with a practice rink for the Wild, Tim Horton’s, Stacked Deck Brewing, and other retail and office space. Lots of change and exciting ventures, to be sure!
Finally, as a piece of very good news for the area, the Star Tribune reported that 3M may be seeking office space downtown St. Paul. If you build it, they will come. And just in case you’ve forgotten about it, there’s always Lowertown, which made Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s list of Best Downtown Neighborhoods (we wrote about it here). The Farmer’s Market on the weekend, river views, thriving restaurants, and beautiful, historic buildings come together to create a fun destination spot that many are now choosing to call home. It’s truly a gem of a neighborhood. If you’d like to see what St. Paul has to offer (or even if you’d just like to get the conversation started), let me know – call 952-258-3100 or email.
Photo credit: user JArndt, morguefile.com