A portion of the former downtown St. Paul Macy's store may soon house a still-to-be-identified national retailer.
The St. Paul Port Authority said Friday it has reached a tentative deal to sell the southwest corner of the building to a group called NLD Wabasha for around $2.5 million. The retailer would occupy 17,870 square feet on the Wabasha street level and 7,700 square feet on the skyway level.
Lee Krueger, senior vice president for real estate and development at the Port Authority, said word of the planned sale — which includes about 10 percent of the former department store space — should act as a catalyst to redevelop the rest of the building.
"So many people have been saying to us they don't want to be first," Krueger said. "Now that we have someone who's going to step up and be first, we think that some other tenants, both retail, office — and maybe entertainment, will fall in line."
Krueger said the name of the retailer should be made public in the next couple of weeks. He expects it could take until the end of the year to close the deal.
The Port Authority plans to sell Macy's real estate in sections. Krueger said he's heard strong interest from a restaurant. There could be room for two to three storefront businesses along Wabasha Street.
The old Macy's building is not suitable for developing into apartments or condos, Krueger said, adding the middle third of the building could be expanded parking or offices that don't need windows.
St. Paul's Port Authority has had the 529,053 square foot building on the market since February 2014 after it purchased the building for $3 million.
The Port Authority board will hold a hearing on the NLD Wabasha sale next Tuesday at 2 p.m.
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