Could this nondescript piece of land be the answer to a moribund retail economy in downtown St. Paul? Maybe.
Lund's announced today it's going to build a supermarket here at the corner of 10th and Robert in downtown. It's on the site where the Penfield tower was going to be built -- a 30-story condo project that collapsed when the housing market did. Now, the Penfield is back. "The $88 million development also is expected to include an upscale apartment complex and a Hyatt Place Select Service hotel. Construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2009," according to a city news release today.
It's no secret that retail downtown has been a losing proposition, despite an increase in condo development.
"With a rising population and a lack of full-service supermarket options in downtown Saint Paul, we know there is a real need for a Lunds in this area," said Tres Lund, chairman and CEO of Lund Food Holdings. "We're eager to provide the residents and businesses in downtown Saint Paul with a selection of products and a level of service that will exceed their expectations."
Though the city has given its blessing, apparently there's no financing for the huge project yet. Construction is scheduled to begin next fall. But, huge signs still stand on the site announcing the Penfield opening in the fall of 2007.
This Lowertown resident has always said that the only thing downtown St. Paul is lacking is a grocery store. A Lund's would certainly be a deciding factor in whether we decide to spend a few more years living in downtown. This would be terrific.
I am very enthusiastic about a Lunds downtown! They need to do it like they did the store in Northeast mpls...easy in and out parking. I would definitely stop in and pick things up on my way out of downtown.
Yes to Lund's, but I wonder if it is too far from the center of things - and too far off the skyway. It's good for Rossmore, and It's good for me (I'll have a source of Twinings Tea within walking distance) but I'm not sure this really is what Lowertown needed.
I hope it works, tho. Success will create opportunities for others, but failure will sink everything.
The only problem with these Lunds and Trader Joe operations is the money. Why do Americans always think they have to have huge trendy grocery stores? For a fraction of the price you could put smaller more convenient neighborhood groceries around. This deal will probably fall through simply because like so many other Downtown St. Paul deals it's just too big and expensive.
So since we have all this corporate interest in feeding the masses why not make it public. Lets take the ethanol farmers whose subsidies might be cut, start them growing local food they can get decently paid for, open up some more local grocery(co-ops/four season farmers markets) and see if we can't kill those two stones. On top of this if the government would take stake in getting this up and running they could reap the benefits some how through profits (I am not an economist or accountant). We could clean up some parking lots or vacant lots and use them as community gardens. Suddenly there is locally grown sustainable food instead of Lunds trucks.
Wow we could actually make St. Paul somewhere I want to be instead of a stop over on the bus routes.