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Historic building that once housed a cigar factory, shoemaker, and police station to be redeveloped

A century-old building on Saint Paul's East Seventh Street, which has sat empty for nearly a decade, could soon be redeveloped to include office and retail space along with loft-style apartments.

Covenant Capital, a local developer that specializes in residential properties, plans to renovate the two-story brick building, which previously housed a cigar factory, a bowling shoe manufacturer, and a police station.

Ben Hosfield, a spokesperson for Covenant, says, “It’s kind of a property that’s been unnoticeable over the years,” explaining that a couple of other buildings, including a former discount tire store, covered it up.   

However, the tire store building will soon be torn down. “That will open up the space to the property,” he says. “Something could be done with that large space further down the road. It’s a big lot.”   

Although the project’s details, including the cost, are still coming together, it’ll likely take $340,000 to make the building meet modern code requirements, the Pioneer Press reports.   

To fit the building’s historic character, Covenant wants to add an exterior awning to the entryway. That will be subject to approval by the city’s heritage preservation commission, as the building belongs to the Dayton’s Bluff historic district, Hosfield says.

Potentially, there could be a restaurant on the main level, or some other type of storefront retail. Office suites, which will be built to suit, and apartments will go on the second floor, while a basement level, which the police had used for a gym, could become storage space or some other type of amenity. “’It’s a matter of how do we use that space?’” Hosfield says. “It’s still in question.”
Construction will probably start next year.

With other projects underway nearby, “We’ve seen the neighborhood start to redevelop,” he says, adding, “We hope we’re part of the neighborhood coming back.”

Source: Ben Hosfield, Covenant Capital
Writer: Anna Pratt  

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