Too expensive to tear down former Macy's in St Paul

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The headline in the Business Journal couldn't have been more frank: "Demolition costs mean St. Paul is stuck with its Macy's building."

The story said that the St. Paul Port Authority, which owns the six-story former store on Wabasha Street, estimated that it would cost $13 million to demolish the downtown building and turn it into a shovel-ready site. The authority bought the building in January for $3 million. The building opened as a Dayton's department store in 1963 and later became a Marshall Fields store.

"There isn't any interest in demo and rebuild on that site in the marketplace," Port Authority President Louis Jambois told the Journal. "No one wants to take it on because of the demolition costs [so] we're looking at a retrofit and we're looking at multiple parties and multiple uses and maybe multiple development entities."

Port Authority spokesman Tom Collins told the Pioneer Press that no developer was willing to pay to tear down the 1960's structure "just to put a hole in the ground. ... We received absolutely no interest whatsoever in demolishing it."

Collins added that several groups have expressed interest in buying and retrofitting the building. The authority hopes to have a deal in place by the end of the year. Possible new uses would include a mix of retail, housing, and entertainment, including restaurants.

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