ST. PAUL, Minn. - There will be new life for the old Macy's in downtown St. Paul.
The St. Paul Port Authority has agreed to buy the building and the adjacent parking garage for $3 million. That said, there is much still to be determined about what happens next.
The building has been a priority for both city and business leaders. They didn't want someone to swoop in and build something that didn't fit with the city's vision. The Port Authority buying the building buys time to make sure the project is done right.
"We buy the stuff that no one else wants, for the most part, clean up the sites and continue to the revitalization process in St. Paul," says St. Paul Port Authority President, Louis Jambois.
The St. Paul Port Authority is a unique public-private organization that has been redeveloping the city for more than 80 years. Sites like Beacon Bluff, 3M's old campus that has now been transformed, creating jobs, expanding the tax base. Most of the sites they develop are in industrial parks but now they'll try their hand at the old Macy's building downtown.
"We don't want to preclude any use, be it commercial, retail, office, residential, institutional, hospitality, they're all prospectively in play," says Jambois.
Macy's closed its doors last March, but the department store has been there for 50 years. Will the building be saved or demolished? The Port Authority says it will see if someone is interested in the place as-is, but it is willing to tear the place down and start over. So, at this point, they really don't know much about what will happen next or how long it will take. Basically, the Port Authority buying the building buys the city time to make sure what goes in, fits.
"I think the most important thing is getting the vision right, whether that takes an extra year or two to develop is less important that we make a good 50 or 100 year decision on that site," says Mayor Chris Coleman.
The deal is done quite yet. The St. Paul Port Authority will vote on the offer at its next meeting, but does hope to close on the Macy's deal by the end of January.