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< Blogging on the radio | Main | Free speech: Not so free >

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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