St. Paul picks Macy's site developer; Wild practice rink planned

Monday, September 21, 2015

MPR News

Excelsior-based Oppidan Investment Co. has been chosen to redevelop the old downtown Macy's site in St. Paul. The plan includes a Minnesota Wild practice facility.

Details are expected later this afternoon, but he board of the St. Paul Port Authority, the city's development arm, is scheduled to vote on the development agreement at its meeting Tuesday.

Officials expect the building to house between six and 10 tenants "consisting of medical office, retailers, restaurants, entertainment, financial and/or other service uses, and parking."

The agency's nonprofit subsidiary Capital City Properties would maintain a 10 percent ownership stake in the project and be responsible for leasing the space, according to a draft of a memo, which will be sent to the port authority Board this afternoon.

Oppidan would contribute $5.3 million in cash to the project. The port authority would contribute the building, itself, which it purchased from Macy's in January 2014 for $3 million.

The partnership would take out a loan to cover the rest of the $52.7 million dollar price tag of redevelopment. While the port authority would be entitled to only 10 percent of the profits from the project, it would maintain an equal voice in all decisions.

St. Paul city leaders bought the old Macy's building last year hoping to land a splashy project for the site. Officials, however, have had to repeatedly scale back ambitions as several plans fell through. It's been expensive for the port authority to maintain. As of June, it had spent $1.2 million to maintain and market the property.

"This is terrific news and further evidence of the momentum downtown and throughout the city of Saint Paul," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said of the agreement announced Friday.

Friday's announcement also moves the Minnesota Wild's plans one step closer to reality.

Vice President of New Business Development Jamie Spencer said the team hopes its vision for a practice headquarters at the Macy's site aligns with Oppidan's.

"The master developer is a really important next step for this project and that's what's been confirmed up to this point," he said. "There is still a lot of work to be done but it's creating some great momentum for the project."

A practice facility for the Wild has been a top priority since the team's inception 15 years ago, Spencer added. The team currently practices out of several different rinks around the Twin Cities.

Spencer said a downtown St. Paul practice site would be a right fit and a large part of creating a competitive team.


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