- Three developers are competing to revitalize the site of a former publishing company and jail along the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota, a project that local officials are hoping will spur additional downtown development, according to the Star Tribune.
- The team of Sherman Associates and Frauenshuh Commercial Real Estate's plan includes a 150-key hotel, an apartment high-rise with 150 units and an eight-story, 40,000-square-foot office tower, all sitting atop a parking structure that will be built as tall as four stories. The $120- to $150-million project would also include a pedestrian walkway to other riverfront areas. AECOM is proposing a set of four high-rises that could contain multifamily, office, retail and hotel space, surrounded by walkways, a waterfall and other outdoor recreational and entertainment venues. The company also provided a version that would see the towers built to a shorter height. The Prairie Island Indian Community, which also operates a local casino, has outlined a plan that would include a hotel, residential space and offices. Whichever developer wins the deal, however, will have to deal with site-specific challenges like active railways and the parcel's position along a bluff.
- Ramsey County has already invested $17 million in the demolition of existing buildings and site preparation in anticipation of a now-defunct deal with another developer. The county had been in talks with as many as nine developers but is expected to recommend one of the three teams at a Nov. 13 meeting.
In April of last year, it looked like the county was ready to enter into an agreement with Cardon Development for a $225 million project that would have included a 200-room hotel, 300 apartments, 30,000 square feet of retail and 60,000 square feet of office space. The project would have created an estimated 2,000 construction jobs. However, negotiations came to an end when it appeared as though Cardon might look to the county for financial help with the parking structure.
But St. Paul might not be as prepared as it should be for the building boom officials have said they want for downtown. According to a separate report from the Star Tribune, the city has a staggering backlog of 59,000 building permits pulled in the past 10 years that lack a final inspection, leaving open the possibility that there are a wide variety of structures in the community that don't meet building code standards. The Department of Safety and Inspections has hired additional staff and has tried to streamline the permitting process in an effort to rectify the situation. In Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported, there are approximately 14,000 permitted projects that have never had an inspection.