Brewery developers negotiate extension

Back in business?
The 150-year old Schmidt's Brewery building has been the home to two breweries, and most recently, a controversial ethanol plant. The building has been vacant since 2004.
MPR Photo/Marisa Helms

A father-and-son development team say they have an extra six months to close on the old Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul.

Developer Craig Cohen and his father, Jeffrey Cohen, want to build a two-floor retail arcade in the brewery's castle-like tower. They've signed on Twin Cities-based Dominium Development to create rental units on top.

The Cohens now have until October to acquire the 15 acres. They were supposed to close on the property next week, but negotiated an extension with the sellers.

Ken Peterson of the West Seventh/Fort Road Federation says the later deadline will give the developers time to line up an interesting mix of retailers in this neighborhood landmark.

"We have to understand this is not a good time for developing anything. So we think it makes more sense to take their time, find the right businesses, find the right type of tenants and develop it the way it should be developed, rather than rushing into something," Peterson said.

The Cohens have hired retail consultant Rick Hill from Kentucky. Hill worked with developer Jerry Trooien on the failed Bridges of St. Paul proposal.

The Cohens plan to pay $7.5 million for the brewery site. Project backers have requested that the site receive national historic designation.

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