Photos: Huge fire damages building under construction in downtown St. Paul

Firefighters battle a large blaze.
Crews battle a large downtown St. Paul fire Tuesday. The fire broke out in a hotel under construction near the Xcel Energy Center and the building collapsed shortly before dawn. No injuries were reported.
St. Paul Fire Department via Twitter

Updated: 10:55 a.m.

A massive fire burned in downtown St. Paul early Tuesday morning, apparently destroying a hotel under construction across from the Xcel Energy Center.

The flames were more than 40 feet high at one point and visible on freeway traffic cameras nearby.

Fire officials said shortly after 5 a.m. that a substantial part of the blaze had been knocked down. No injuries have been reported.

Firefighters were climbing onto the roofs of nearby buildings, including the Catholic Charities homeless shelter across the street, to look for embers that may pose a fire threat nearby. Radio traffic among firefighters indicated at least part of the under-construction project had collapsed.

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Public works crews were also trying to boost water pressure to the area to aid firefighters.

The project broke ground last fall, on the 2-acre site known as Cleveland Circle, a vacant lot on West Seventh Street, near Kellogg Boulevard. The historic Armstrong-Quinlan home stood on the site until it was moved to Eagle Street in 2001.

Bloomington-based Kaeding Development Group was planning a five-story, 120-unit hotel there, to be branded as Courtyard by Marriott. It was planned to be paired with a 144-unit apartment building on the same site, between the Smith Avenue transit station and the arena where the Minnesota Wild play.

The site has been long considered one of the city’s prime redevelopment opportunities, and was even pitched as the site for a new Twins stadium years ago by then-Mayor Randy Kelly, but the lot has taken decades to find a suitable project.