St Paul Port Authority to buy Macy's building for $3 million

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The Star Tribune reports that the St. Paul Port Authority will buy the empty Macy’s department store building in downtown St. Paul, which has been shuttered since March of 2013. The closing on the deal is set for Jan. 29.

The Business Journal reported that the Port Authority will pay $3 million for the building. A press release quotes Port President Louie Jambois, who said, “We want to ensure that the Macy’s site will be the new home of a vibrant development that fits the character of Saint Paul,” adding that the Port will take its time in deciding whether to demolish the approximately 500,000-square foot, six-story building and adjacent parking structure or retrofit it.

The newspaper account quoted a source familiar with the transaction, who indicated that Macy’s has now agreed to a purchase offer that was made on Friday by the Port Authority. The Port Authority had been prepared to make an offer of $3.2 million to buy the property last summer, but that deal was interrupted when a California developer bid on the empty store. But that deal and a second offer on the property fell through, and Macy’s indicated Friday that the property remained on the market.

Earlier this week, MPR News reported that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said that he would like to see property redeveloped into high-end office space with retail and restaurants on the first floor.

At the time the closing was announced last January, WCCO reported that Macy's called the St. Paul store an under performer with disappointing sales. The closure put 153 people out of work. MinnPost called the store a "doomed dinosaur," noting that department stores have been fleeing downtown areas across the nation for the past four decades.

The St. Paul Port Authority was established by legislature in 1932 to manage commodities transportation on the Mississippi River. Later, it was given the power to redevelop the inland part of the city. According to its website, the Port Authority currently has 22 business centers – including four river terminals – throughout Saint Paul.

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