Judge delays demolition of historic St. Paul firehouse

The Hope Engine Company No. 3 firehouse
Several neighborhood groups are working to halt demolition of the Hope Engine Company No. 3 firehouse on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

A Ramsey County judge has spared a historic firehouse near downtown St. Paul from the wrecking ball, at least for now.

Judge Margaret Marrinan signed a temporary restraining order Monday blocking the demolition of the building, the old Hope Engine Company No. 3 firehouse on Grand Avenue near United Hospital and Interstate 35E.

The neighborhood association around the site and the city's nonprofit Fort Road Federation were among the opponents who went to court to stop the destruction sought by a St. Paul developer.

The firehouse dates to 1872, making it the oldest building in St. Paul, said Richard Duncan, an attorney representing the neighborhood group.

"It has historic significance because it dates back to the time when St. Paul had volunteer firefighters that actually constructed it and then the city took over its operations and it ran as a city firehouse for 100 years," he said.

"I would hope that either as an independent reuse or part of larger development — they have been mentioning a hotel development — that the building could be maintained, but take on a new life."

The developers who own the building were not at Monday's hearing to counter the request. Another hearing is scheduled for April 4.

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