Wabasha Center (Former Macy's) - Downtown St. Paul

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mattaudio
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby mattaudio » November 26th, 2013, 10:32 am

The Wabasha frontage would be salvageable with the right amount of investment to open up the building to the street.

Cedar Street is already human-hostile with narrow sidewalks, Macy's on one side, Town Square on the other, a parking ramp shadow south of 6th, and now LRT.

And 6th St frontage is human-hostile since the Macy's parking access squeezes between the street and the sidewalk (this practice should be outlawed -- at least the Xcel project is going to remove one of these fails in Mpls).

In the long run, it would be great if there was a way to extend 7th Place through to Minnesota, but I don't see that happening alongside a redo of the Macys.

St. Paul should focus on small storefronts and a diversity of uses to make Wabasha, 7th Place, etc more human-scale on the sidewalk. This could be the sidewalk-friendly "downtown" of downtown with relatively low investment. Add a focus on 6th or 5th St corridors to connect Rice Park, the Green Line, and Mears Park and St. Paul could make a big impact on walkability. It just needs to triage, focus on small scale investments, and build connections between the spots where St. Paul is already rocking it.

nickmgray
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby nickmgray » November 26th, 2013, 11:03 am

I think they would be able to blow out the walls entirely and clad the building with floor to ceiling glass walls. In it's current form, it's not very appealing as an office building, but the internal open structure would allow them to easily strip the place and give tenants the opportunity to have control over the space.

Let's not forget that 1/3 of the block is actually a parking ramp as well, with parking on top of the roof of Macy's too.

Jtown
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby Jtown » November 26th, 2013, 12:06 pm

I attended the meeting noted in the Downtown Voice. The blurb in there isn't a reflection of the discussion - shouldn't be interpreted as any plan or decision is in place. It was the group asking the city if there was any new news on the site and the response was no not at this time.

mattaudio
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby mattaudio » January 3rd, 2014, 4:39 pm

http://www.startribune.com/business/238645191.html
St. Paul Port Authority bids on Macy's store
A deal for the downtown St. Paul store is expected to go through by the end of January. Two previous deals fell apart.

MNdible
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby MNdible » January 3rd, 2014, 4:45 pm

Is there something with their enabling legislation that allows the St. Paul Port Authority to be so much more active and aggressive than their Minneapolis counterpart? It seems like the St. Paul Port Authority is constantly moving and shaking (not necessarily always as a force of good), while I feel like until the recent Ryan Downtown East proposal, I hadn't heard a peep out of the Minneapolis Port Authority in years.

nordeast homer
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby nordeast homer » January 3rd, 2014, 9:08 pm

MNdible wrote:Is there something with their enabling legislation that allows the St. Paul Port Authority to be so much more active and aggressive than their Minneapolis counterpart? It seems like the St. Paul Port Authority is constantly moving and shaking (not necessarily always as a force of good), while I feel like until the recent Ryan Downtown East proposal, I hadn't heard a peep out of the Minneapolis Port Authority in years.
I'm surprised there is still a Port Authority in Mpls. Don't they want to remove all commerce from above St Anthony Falls. Without a Port, why would you need a Port Authority?

mattaudio
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby mattaudio » January 3rd, 2014, 11:12 pm

Legal entities known as "port authorities" these days have about as much to do with a physical port of trade as port wine, USB ports, and Mike Port.

MNdible
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby MNdible » January 4th, 2014, 12:39 pm

Maybe we should split this off into its own topic. In searching around, I found Matt's article on Streets.mn that starts to get at the root of some of the differences here between Minneapolis and St. Paul. It appears that St. Paul is a semi-autonomous body that operates on its own initiative and with its own staff, whereas the Minneapolis Authority appears to exist in name only, and can only utilize its powers when the City Council passes a special ordinance for a specific project.

I suspect that the old MCDA used to serve a similar function to the St. Paul Port Authority. Looks like when the MCDA folded up shop, nothing stepped up to replace it. Which, I think, leaves Minneapolis in a reactive position when it comes to redevelopment. Maybe this is fine (free market knows best, right?), but there have been a number of times when a prime piece of property looks like it might be moving towards an unremarkable and short-sighted redevelopment future when I sort of wish that the city would step in and buy it.

twincitizen
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby twincitizen » January 7th, 2014, 10:46 am

Macy's has accepted SPPA's bid and agreed to terms. The sale could close by the end of the month. St. Paul taxpayers are now the proud owners of a shuttered department store. Best case scenario this is a smart acquisistion and puts St. Paul in total control over future development of this site (tear it down and build mixed-use retail/residential with great street frontages). Worst case scenario it sits empty or grossly underused for decades.

mattaudio
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby mattaudio » January 7th, 2014, 11:08 am

Maybe they can redevelop it with all the profits from Lawson Commons....

MNdible
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby MNdible » January 7th, 2014, 12:05 pm

mattaudio wrote:Maybe they can redevelop it with all the profits from Lawson Commons....
Or perhaps from the Minnesota World Trade Center?

twincitizen
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby twincitizen » January 7th, 2014, 4:04 pm

The $3 million purchase is slated to close Jan. 29, pending approval by the authority's board.

The deal gives the city more control over how the site is redeveloped. Mayor Chris Coleman appoints the port authority board, which intends to put the building back on the market immediately following the closing.
http://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/01/07 ... ys?from=hp

THERAT
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby THERAT » January 7th, 2014, 7:47 pm

3 million for a prime piece of downtown on light rail seems fair. The port authority will maintain the property until a viable reuse or bold new development emerges. Give it time.

at40man
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby at40man » January 8th, 2014, 9:27 pm

St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune, who represents downtown, said he’d love to see a movie complex on the site as part of a larger retail development — perhaps a factory outlet mall — along with affordable or high-end housing.
Galtier Plaza.
MN World Trade Center.
Town Square.

How many of these places does Thune think we need? I'd love to see the theaters at Galtier reactivated over trying to carve a theater out of here. Plus, Galtier is closer to where people want to be after work hours.

mattaudio
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby mattaudio » January 8th, 2014, 10:15 pm

St. Paul needs more vacant retail festival marketplace indoor skyway connected spaces, for sure.

David Greene
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby David Greene » January 9th, 2014, 10:51 pm

The theater space in Galtier would need major work to bring it up to competitive standards, even for second run films. Plus the space is currently used for corporate meetings and other large gatherings. I'd love to see it happen but I'm not holding my breath.

at40man
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby at40man » January 10th, 2014, 7:29 am

Yeah, I went to a film festival a few years back that took place in the former Galtier Cinema 4 as well as a couple meetings there, so I got to see the old screening rooms of my early childhood. The place basically needs to be stripped to the bare drywall. While Venue A and the lobby look nice enough, start scratching the surface and you will find enough mauve and teal in there to make Sharon Stone blush. And the mono sound is a fry cry from the technology of today.

My point is, however, that re-activating the Galtier Cinema would be much more practical than trying to shoehorn a movie theater inside the old Macy's building.

THESE are the ideas Thune has for St Paul? I can't fathom how he keeps getting elected unless people are not thinking for themselves and vote straight down the party line. He is so out-of-touch with what downtown St Paul needs and actually is serving to hinder the city in many respects.

twincitizen
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby twincitizen » January 10th, 2014, 8:54 am


talindsay
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby talindsay » January 10th, 2014, 11:30 am

That's a pretty good, if a bit snarky, piece by Lileks. I especially like this bit:
Lileks wrote:Or make a museum dedicated to something we all remember fondly: the downtown department store. Call it DAYTON’S. Fill it with clothing and merchandise from 1958. Nothing would be for sale, but people could try on things, watch TV in the electronics department, see what ’58 was like. Other floors could handle 1968 and 1978.

If nothing else it would be instructive for youths, since those who do not remember the past are doomed to pay $79 for it at Urban Outfitters in five years.

David Greene
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Re: Former Macy's Site

Postby David Greene » January 10th, 2014, 11:10 pm

at40man wrote:THESE are the ideas Thune has for St Paul? I can't fathom how he keeps getting elected unless people are not thinking for themselves and vote straight down the party line. He is so out-of-touch with what downtown St Paul needs and actually is serving to hinder the city in many respects.
Yeah, I really don't get the love for Thune. I can only assume it's all about momentum and apathy.


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