St. Paul Port Authority to buy former Macy's for $3 million

Macy's closing
The downtown St. Paul, Minn. Macy's. The store first opened as Dayton's in 1963.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

The St. Paul Port Authority has reached a deal to buy the building that once housed the city's downtown Macy's store.

The $3 million purchase is slated to close Jan. 29, pending approval by the authority, the city's economic development arm.

The deal gives St. Paul more control over how the site is redeveloped. Mayor Chris Coleman appoints the port authority board, which intends to put the building back on the market immediately following the closing.

Macy's closed the store in March. It had been trying to sell the property to a private real estate investment company, but Coleman revealed last week that deal had collapsed.

Documents released last year show city leaders worried the building would become a Burlington Coat Factory or similar, low-priced retailer. One memo described that as a "worst case scenario."

The city worried Macy's would sell to an owner who wouldn't do a good job redeveloping the property, said Louie Jambois, president of the port authority.

"We want to give the marketplace an adequate amount of time to respond. And it seemed to us that there was a rush to get rid of this building, and we wanted to slow that down," Jambois said. "We determined the best way to do that was to buy it ourselves."

The city is open to a variety of uses for the property, including office space, retail and residential, he added.

Coleman has said he'd like to see the building replaced with high-end office space.

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