The Minnesota Wild has long wanted a practice facility close to the Xcel Energy Center, and the team is getting one — in the form of a rink on top of a former Macy's store.
The team signed a deal on Thursday to put its offices in the former department store in downtown St. Paul and build a practice rink on the roof.
But the rink won't just be for pro hockey, said Lee Krueger, president of the St. Paul Port Authority, which is building the rink with Hempel Companies.
"The ice time that will be used will be open to the public, other organizations, figure skating groups," he said. "The Wild will use it for practice. But I would be guessing that the Wild's usage of the ice itself, that's a non-exclusive area, is probably only going to be only about 5 percent of the total ice time usage."
City officials have been trying to attract new development to the department store building since Macy's closed in 2013. The St. Paul Port Authority bought the building and partnered with developer Hempel to retrofit it and bring in new tenants.
Randy McKay, principal with Hempel, said his company expects retail, hospitality, medical and office tenants will follow the Wild.
"We are building an NHL quality ice rink, along with a 25,000 square foot training center and locker room for the Minnesota Wild," he said. "This component of the project springboards us forward for working with 120,000 square feet of office, retail and medical space within the project."
McKay wouldn't identify the prospective tenants, but said he expected to make more announcements in the next month. The rink is expected to open next fall.
"We think this has the chance to really turn Wabasha Street into the lively Main and Main of St. Paul, at Wabasha and 6th," Krueger said.