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Convention Beat: August 14, 2008 Archive

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A sight for sore eyes, or an eyesore site?

Posted at 7:31 AM on August 14, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

There's a lot of primping and preening going on around St. Paul in preparation for the Republican National Convention, but there's some things that a little makeup just can't cover.

headhouse.jpgSeven or so stories of crumbling concrete, for instance.

The historic Head House at St. Paul's Upper Landing, despite a decade of good intentions (and a "most endangered building" designation in 2003), is still an abandoned relic. It's sitting right in front of some of the city's newest riverfront condos, too.

This summer, the city took bids for a $2 million renovation that will revive the 1917 building's history: it was the first grain terminal operated in the U.S. by an agricultural cooperative. The low-slung "sack house" at the foot of the tower is slated to become a park facility and trail building.

The Sack House was supposed to be a restaurant, but apparently no one could crack that dang risk-of-an-obliterating-flood nut that comes with being a former barge terminal.

Anyway, work on that won't start for another month or so, so the city's going to dress the place up a little -- again. Planning and Economic Development spokeswoman Natalie Fedie said they're going to put a giant banner with a rendering of the project on the side of the Head House.

"It'll give people some idea of what the final product might look like," Fedie said.

It'll replace the one that Upper Landing developer Centex Homes put up years ago to, you know, give people an idea of the final product, and that the city made the developer take down.

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Free speech: Not so free

Posted at 8:43 AM on August 14, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

Get a massage. Send a message.

That's what the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War would like you to do tomorrow night at the Black Dog Cafe in downtown St. Paul. They're holding a silent auction, including restaurant meals, massages, private wine tastings, arts and crafts, use of vacation homes "and more" to raise money for the big protest planned for St. Paul on Sept. 1.

sundin.jess.JPGMarch organizers have had an office open all summer. They've got to pay for the lights and phones, sound equipment, signs and all manner of protest paraphernalia, according to Jess Sundin, one of the principal organizers.

Change the world, one art and craft at a time.

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The stage is set

Posted at 4:45 PM on August 14, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)


Republican National Convention organizers let the scrum in for another weekly tour today. Public Insight Journalism's Preston Wright and I went in for a look around. You can see they've put up the stage and they're starting to put up a 30 foot tall video wall behind it. Click on the picture above and you can see the taped lines showing how the chairs will be set up next week.

Wright brought along his panoramic camera and got some cool shots of the arena interior.

Here's a great shot of the view from the "Let's Play Hockey" balcony in the southwest corner of the arena:

Here's what it looked like on the floor while we were interviewing Freeman Corp. project director Greg Lane. That's me in the light blue shirt with the headphones on, at left.

And as you can see, this is very much a work in progress:

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