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Met Council doles out $720K to clean former Macy's building, where Wild eye rink

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The Metropolitcan Council is providing $720,750 to help clean up the former Macy's building in downtown St. Paul, helping plans for a rooftop Wild practice facility (with retail and office space below) move one step closer to completion.

The Met Council announced the funding Wednesday, noting the money will go to pay for asbestos and lead-based paint cleanup at the 2.2 acre site.

Currently, the renovation plan for the building – which has been empty since Macy’s closed its store in March 2013 – includes 373,000 feet of commercial space (restaurant, retail, medical clinic and office space), plus a rooftop hockey practice facility, the Met Council release says.

The release doesn't mention the Minnesota Wild. But it's been known for months Minnesota's NHL team has its eye on the site.

Earlier in June, Wild owner Craig Leipold told a Business Journal sporting roundtable he hopes to get the green light for the rooftop rink plan sometime in the next month. It could see the roof of the building transformed into a “glassed-in ice rink” with views over St. Paul, though there's been no official word on a design.

Talks between the Wild and the St. Paul Port Authority, which owns the building, have been ongoing for several months, after the NHL team’s interest in the 363,000 square foot property became apparent in February.

Other projects

The Met Council's funding is part of a larger $3.5 million brownfield cleanup grants initiative; a part of the Livable Communities program. The goal of the funding is to help clean up land for redevelopment, creating jobs increasing the tax base, producing affordable housing, and promoting investment in the area, the Met Council says.

The Macy's building project is one of 16 grants doled out. the Met Council says will clean up 22 acres, create or retain more than 900 jobs, increase the net tax base by more than $2.8 million, help produce and preserve 800 affordable homes, and encourage more than $338 million in private investment.

The grants cover projects in Hopkins, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Saint Louis Park, and Saint Paul.

The Macy's building grant is the second-largest. The former Superior Plating plant, a 3-acre site in Minneapolis, will get $798,800 for soil clean-up and monitoring as developers look to convert it to market-rate apartments with commercial space.

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