Galtier Plaza

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at40man
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Galtier Plaza

Postby at40man » August 27th, 2014, 8:19 am

I figured this iconic St Paul building deserves its own thread, seeing as it has now been brought up in multiple other threads.

I used to work and live in the building -- and still bank there. I understand a couple uother rbanMSPers currently do.

I was in there last week, and was shocked to see that they still hadn't finished the elevator work. Are they even attempting to finish? It seems incredibly odd to completely replace the technology on 2 of the main elevators, and leave the third with the old 80s technology. If anything, that makes these even less efficient. Don't get me started on the cage light in the ceiling of the other elevator as opposed to fixing the nice ceiling and lighting it used to have.

Galtier is a beautiful building, but I feel like parts of it are being neglected -- not to mention some outright asinine changes to the interior architecture.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby David Greene » August 27th, 2014, 9:55 am

I work at Cray and the building is indeed being neglected. It still leaks, long after management agreed to fix the leaks within something like six months after we moved in (four years ago now?). When they posted the elevator repair schedule after the flooding, I joked that according to that schedule, Central Corridor would be done before the three elevators. Little did I know that not only would it be done, it would be in full revenue service. And people talk about government waste and private sector efficiency.

There is *no* sign of any elevator work being done. The building maintenance guy (a really nice fellow) says he heard that the elevator parts are on back-order since they are of a special design. Seems like an excuse to me because they've been out for like two years now.

I would not be surprised if Cray moves out once the lease is done. Technically we could get out of the lease right now because the work they promised to do hasn't been done. I hope that if we do leave the building we'll stay downtown. I do NOT want to go back out to Mendota Heights! There was a big stink among long-time employees when we moved because most of them live in Eagan. I'm afraid it would be tempting to go back but that's short-sighted. We moved downtown partly to attract young talent (and we have!). In the past we've had several good candidates turn down offers due to lack of transit access at the suburban location. I know because managers came to me hoping I could tell them about some obscure bus route that they could tell candidates about.

I think most of the long-time employees have come around and at least grudgingly accepted that St. Paul is not such a terrible place to work. I think people do like the lunch options, as limited as they are.

Somewhat surprisingly, in order to move to another place downtown some new office space would have to be built. My understanding is that Galtier (at the time) was the only place that had enough contiguous space and room to grow in the future. We've now maxed out our expansion options at Cray Plaza.

Frankly, I wish we'd move to Minneapolis because it would greatly shorten my commute. :) But I can just hear the howls of protest now and I can't really say I'd blame them. Traffic getting in and out of downtown Minneapolis from/to the east can be a nightmare. I suppose the Blue Line isn't too far out of the way though.

gcm
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby gcm » August 27th, 2014, 3:49 pm

Whatever happened to the movie theaters - are they still intact? I've hoped, that with the increase in people living downtown, they could be reopened and show movies similar to what is available at the Edina Landmark Cinema.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby Wedgeguy » August 27th, 2014, 4:47 pm

The theaters are still there. Again an out of town group that has no idea what potential that this building has. I will say that they have destroyed the uniqueness of the building over the years. Getting rid of the Park side main entrance was a huge mistake. It basically closes off the rest of Lowertown to the building. One can hope for a new owner that can do something amazing with it again.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby David Greene » August 27th, 2014, 8:17 pm

Totally agree about the enrance off Sibley. It was a crime to close it and it was an even bigger crime to subsidize not one but TWO failed Fhima ventures.

The theaters are "there" only in the sense that the rooms are there. All of the equipment is gone and they get used as basically big conference rooms and event spaces for tenants. I don't see that use going away any time soon. Besides, if a theater can't make it in downtown Minneapolis, I can't believe it would make it in Lowertown.
Last edited by David Greene on August 27th, 2014, 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Silophant
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby Silophant » August 27th, 2014, 9:46 pm

Maybe I'm misremembering, but I didn't think the Block E AMC's closing was "couldn't make it" so much as "was forced out for a casino that never happened". It seemed busy enough the times I was there.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby FISHMANPET » August 27th, 2014, 9:50 pm

They were paying rent, but wasn't rent based on their sales or something like that? Either way they were forced out, but I'm not exactly sure what their rent situation was.

I know I was sad when it closed, I probably go to a lot fewer movies now that I can't just take a train there.

at40man
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby at40man » August 28th, 2014, 8:47 am

I think Alatus wanted the movie theaters at Block E out due to the rent agreement - they werent really making any money off the deal. Someone did want to reopen Galtier Cinema a few years ago and had a plan to do so. Of course, Nan Hynes (the building manager) was not exactly keen on the idea. http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_9059068

I lived and worked in Galtier on the skyway level from 2005-2009 or so. Our business was pretty much ignored while they were blocking off the main entrance for LoTo. Food court vendors were not happy about being boxed in either. It took FOREVER for anything to get done. Nan Hynes was not exactly personable. We couldn't wait to get out and wound up subleasing our space.

It is still beautiful, but the interior has been so butchered and carved up over the past 10 years. Were it not for owners of the Airye Condos and Galtier Towers, the entire hallway connecting the atrium to 6th Street would've been removed for the high school. An threat of legal action against NEA Galtier for easement encroachment caused them to back down, but the current management has encroached upon other easements which exist in the building.

In the perfect world, I'd like to see the main entrance be "re-stepped" and restored. I don't get why the LoTo/Faces needs as much space as it does. There was already a fairly sizable restaurant in that space previously -- they just didn't take up the main entrance of the building too.

Image

at40man
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby at40man » January 9th, 2015, 12:57 pm

So will they ever finish the elevators?

It's very weird that they only put the new system in 2 of the elevators in the center set of 3, leaving the 3rd to rely on the old 80s technology.

I can't decide which is worse: the fact that they never fixed the ceiling and left an exposed cage light in one of the elevators. Or that they didn't put the money into making sure all 3 elevators can act efficiently by being part of the same system.

All of the elevators in that building need to be updated. I haven't been in the Jackson or Sibley Tower several years now, but it was becoming evident that they needed to put some serious money into updating those elevators as well.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby mulad » January 9th, 2015, 1:13 pm

They finally started on the code upgrade for the third elevator in that cluster of three this past Tuesday. The message I saw said it would be 14 weeks (3 months). There are yet more elevators hiding here and there -- the one right next to Faces that runs from the parking garage up to the third floor is in need of modernization, and I'm not sure if they've done all of the service elevators yet.

at40man
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby at40man » March 12th, 2015, 12:21 pm

Galtier's on the market again: http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/b ... again.html

Hopefully new owners will throw some money at it. It hasn't seen much capital investment since the renovation done by Marty Wasmer in 2003. The parking garage would benefit from new paint, lighting, a machine that accepts credit cards instead of just cash (this is unfathomable to me!!!!!!!!), concrete repair, etc.

David Greene
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby David Greene » March 12th, 2015, 12:25 pm

They've been upgrading the parking equipment this week though I don't know if they accept credit cards. We all got new parking fobs. Badges don't work for parking anymore.

As for the elevators, we're now almost one year into revenue service on the Green Line. Recall that construction of the Green Line and work on the elevators started at the same time.

I cannot wait for NEA to get out of here.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby mulad » March 12th, 2015, 7:24 pm

There's a new parking payment machine on the first floor by the 5th Street (pedestrian) entrance which I saw for the first time this evening. I'd been seeing them run power/communication cables for something over the last few weeks, but wasn't sure why until today.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby mulad » April 8th, 2015, 11:23 am

All three elevators in the main bank in the center of the building are working now. The last one to be upgraded started working yesterday evening.

ProspectPete
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby ProspectPete » April 9th, 2015, 8:58 am

Great! Now if they could only re open the old Galtier cinema!

at40man
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby at40man » May 4th, 2015, 2:18 pm

I walked through this weekend. Looks like they finally have put new ceilings in the elevators. It only took, what, 8 months? :P

gcm wrote:Whatever happened to the movie theaters - are they still intact? I've hoped, that with the increase in people living downtown, they could be reopened and show movies similar to what is available at the Edina Landmark Cinema.
Regarding the movie theaters, they could've re-opened back in 2009ish. As I recall, a businessman was trying to do just that - with a mix of independent and some mainstream films. He was working with businesses in the area to provide classier food options than the standard theater, as well as potent potables. A film festival was held in them in 2008 and it was PACKED.

Nan Hynes, however, wasn't too open to the idea of re-opening them. She wanted to basically put a wall through the lobby area to completely divide the space so that the one theater which was renovated into meeting space would be separate (another architecturally asinine option on her part; I am at least grateful the space wasn't subdivided and the marquee has been retained after all these years!)

Ultimately, the plan never came to fruition and the theaters sit there, occasionally opened to host corporate conferences. Lord forbid anyone recall when people used to visit Galtier Plaza for the restaurants, comedy club, billiards, etc. The theaters and the pared down food court are pretty much the only reminder of when Henry Zaidan deftly flipped the complex from a failing boutique mall to a lively gathering spot for the area.

It's still a beautiful building, but the management has been too willing to neglect some areas and make a few stupid architectural decisions along the way. At least it is mostly leased now.

at40man
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby at40man » September 29th, 2015, 3:06 pm

David Greene wrote: Furthermore, Cray moved its entire programming tools division to 180 East 5th to make room for new employees in Galtier. I now work in the same building my wife's grandfather worked in.

Mario down at Pizza Andrea has been regaling me with tales of Galtier building management. They tried to kick him out. He fought and won, for now. They're still trying to get him out. He and his lawyer can't figure out why. The only thing that makes sense to me is they want to shut down the food court and avoid whatever extra code requirements having a food court entails. Mario is actively looking for other space. According to him, the building owners are way behind on their taxes and are generally in over their heads. He expects chapter 11 if they can't sell.
I figured I'd respond to this in the Galtier thread.

The management of this building is really bad. I used to live in the Sibley tower and worked in an office on the skyway level -- and still do my banking with the credit union there. As far back as 2005 Galtier management was trying to get rid of the food court. Mario was understandably hopping mad about the construction of the wall which cut off visibility from the rest of the plaza .... and the pandering to David Fhima. There have been a few establishments which have expressed interest in opening up in that food court -- despite the worn appearance -- and they have all been turned away. Viable proposals for the movie theaters have come-and-gone.

There was some talk once about replacing the food court street-facing storefronts here, which wouldn't be bad, but unfortunately still makes the interior hard to access since the old main entrance was bricked up.

Nan Hynes and her lemmings are utterly clueless and incompetent. This wouldn't be the first time that Galtier has gone belly-up. There is a lot of deferred maintenance that needs to be done, and this current management group really drags their feet when it comes to spending anything, unless it is to butcher up the building or encroach on the easements which exist (they even tried to entirely cut off the first floor access from the Plaza to the Jackson Tower!). T

While it is good to see the building mostly occupied, the management needs to go.

maxbaby
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby maxbaby » March 8th, 2016, 3:59 pm

Cray is looking at possibly moving out of St Paul.
http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/n ... -from.html
*Locked*

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 8th, 2016, 8:56 pm

But to where......Minneapolis, or another city/state?

Damn paywall! Sadly I used to subscribe to the Business Journal, but back then they didn't lock many articles and it didn't seem like there was a point/privilege of being a subscriber.

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Re: Cray Plaza (née Galtier Plaza)

Postby seanrichardryan » March 8th, 2016, 9:24 pm

You'd think the two people that work there would have chimed in by now... Ahem, David? Mulad?
Q. What, what? A. In da butt.


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