Minnesota Wild could turn former Macy's in St. Paul into a practice rink

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The Minnesota Wild are following the Timberwolves' example by bringing back an empty piece of downtown property.

The Pioneer Press reports Wild officials have resumed talks with the St. Paul Port Authority about trying to find a venue suitable for a practice facility in downtown St. Paul – and appear to have settled on the vacant former Macy's store on Cedar and Wabasha streets.

The authority bought the unit in January 2014 for $3 million following the store's closure in March 2013, the newspaper notes, but would-be developers have been put off by the estimated $13 million cost to demolish the building.

The move would echo similar steps taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, which are opening a practice facility in the notorious Block E complex in downtown Minneapolis.

"We don’t have a deal done but we do have an interest in that site as being mutually beneficial for the team and the city," Wild vice president of business development Jamie Spencer told the Star Tribune.

Both Spencer and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman told the Star Tribune that the intention would be for the Wild to be just one element of the revitalized building.

Creating sports facilities is just one of the many ways that city planners are addressing the issue of vacant "big box stores," in the wake of a financial crisis that took its toll on the retail industry.

We took a look at some of the ways they were being filled in Minnesota, with churches, health clinics and nightclubs among the projects.

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