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After push from neighbors, historic St. Paul firehouse won't be demolished

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It looks like the oldest existing municipal building in the City of St. Paul won't be razed.

The Little Bohemia Neighborhood Association (LBNA) and other community groups have been working to save the Hope Engine Company No. 3 firehouse, which was built in 1872 and closed in 1965, from demolition since it learned back in March there were plans to tear down it down to build a Marriott hotel.

After months of negotiations, the firehouse will likely be preserved thanks to a $500,000 forgivable loan from the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority, St. Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker, who represents the West 7th Street neighborhood, wrote in a letter to the LBNA.

Noecker says developers – Jim Kelly and Dave Brooks – plan to build the hotel to the west of the firehouse, but specific plans for the actual firehouse haven't been announced. In the letter, she wrote turning it into a coffee shop and/or a restaurant "have been floated as possibilities."

"The resolution was the result of months of work with staff and the developers as well as with the outstanding pro bono legal team working to keep the firehouse standing while we figured out a solution. I’m hopeful that this resolution will achieve our goals of preserving the firehouse while also giving it new life and making it into a community asset once again, and allowing the extended stay hotel to move forward next door."

The Star Tribune says neighbors are thrilled with the news that the firehouse will be saved.

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