Projects to encourage economic growth in St. Paul neighborhoods, beautify a vacant lot in the downtown core and even explore bridging a freeway to heal a bisected community were awarded funding by the Knight Foundation in St. Paul on Monday.
The nine projects received more than $640,000 to help create a vibrant, inclusive St. Paul and reflect "a growing recognition that a thriving city is defined and led by its community," foundation officials said.
The idea is to give creative and talented people an incentive to stay in the city and encourage residents to participate in civic life, said Jai Winston, the new Knight Foundation program director in St. Paul.
"The creative energy and appetite for positive change in St. Paul is palpable," Winston said. "These projects aim to tap into this momentum, engaging the community in innovative projects that aim to connect diverse residents and seek their input into programs that will make the city an even better place to live and work."
The projects were announced Monday afternoon during a ceremony to introduce and welcome Winston at the James J. Hill Center near Rice Park. They include:
Other projects receiving funds are intended to keep innovators and entrepreneurs in St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone, as well as attract new ones, and connect new residents to local events and programming through an interactive online forum. Another is working to promote the development of a new park in the Hamline Midway neighborhood.
The $642,500 from Knight is part of more than $64 million given to St. Paul community initiatives since 1977.
The James S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation that invests in journalism, the arts and in the success of cities where the Knight brothers once published newspapers.
For more information, go to knightfoundation.org.
By James Walsh, Star Tribune
To read full article, go here.
The owner of the dark and vacant TCF Bank Building in downtown Minneapolis is taking a page from the North Loop playbook in its quest to lure creative office users to the city’s core.
Franklin Street Properties has completely gutted the four-level brick building at 801 Marquette Ave., exposing interior brick, concrete, steel and timber, some of which dates back to 1923, when the first level of the structure went up.
The building was previously home to TCF Financial Corp., which moved its headquarters to Plymouth last year and prompted Wakefield, Mass.-based Franklin Street and its architect, Perkins + Will, to dream up a new use for the building, which had a 1980s feel.
Franklin Street Properties (NYSE: FSP) and its leasing agent, CBRE Minneapolis, unveiled to the Business Journal its plans for the 120,000-square-foot building, as well as the underutilized — and frankly, cold and dark — atrium that links the Bank Building to the former TCF Tower, which has also been renovated by Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc. Ryan also is the builder on the bank building renovation.
“This is like taking a North Loop vintage building and dropping it into the heart of the city, with a skyway connection and all the amenities of the core,” said Mark McCary, senior vice president for CBRE, who is marketing the property with Larissa Champeau and Paddy Clancy.
The North Loop neighborhood is one of the hottest in the Twin Cities because developers have repurposed old warehouses into creative office spaces that attract ad agencies, architects and tech companies.
It’s not the 50-story mixed-use skyscraper that Franklin Street had originally planned for the bank building, but it’s still a $15 million to $20 million investment that should alter the feel of a block that has felt dead.
“We went through the process of going vertical first,” said Will Friend, regional director for Franklin Street. “But when we moved on from that, we saw the bones of what we had.”
The large, open-air arches on the third and fourth floor of the bank building will become windows, and the floor on the third level will be expanded, creating a balcony on the fourth floor that looks down on the third floor.
CBRE is targeting a single user for the third and forth floors, which total 65,000 square feet. Office or retail/restaurants are being targeted for the first and second floors.
The atrium will be “one of the must dynamic spaces in the downtown skyway system” following its renovation, Friend said.
Ryan Cos. will remove the escalators from the skyway level to the first floor and replace them with a grand staircase. A large screen will stretch four floors and play movies and slideshows. A catwalk will connect the bank building to the 17-story TCF tower building, which is now called the 121 South Eight Street.
A retail partner will sell coffee, sandwiches and even happy hour drinks in the atrium. The Musicant Group of Minneapolis will create programming to get people into the 4,000-square-foot space.
A rooftop amenity deck also will be added in between the two buildings.
The renovation will be complete next spring.
By Nick Halter, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
To read full article, go here.