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18 Downtown/Lowertown Articles | Page: | Show All

EarthCam announces live streaming in St. Paul

EarthCam, an international company providing live streaming video and time-lapse construction cameras for corporate, tourism and government clients in major cities around the world, has added St. Paul to its roster. The live stream takes in such landmarks as the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Minnesota State Capitol and the Fitzgerald Theater, as well sunsets and rush-hour traffic.

MSP top metro for innovatively solving urban issues

Minneapolis-St. Paul was recently named one of the top 10 innovative cities in the U.S. by CNN Money.

"From technology and infrastructure, to job creation and sustainability," the article stated, the cities included are "leading the pack when it comes to creatively solving urban issues."

About MSP, the article stated, "June saw the opening of a new light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Experts from around the country praised it as an example of transportation infrastructure done right -- it integrated the needs of the affected communities and used the new line to drive economic development."

The Twin Cities were also selected as "early adopters of programs to help immigrants start businesses, artists buy real estate, and enlist local execs in solving community problems. The Cities also get high marks for their public health efforts, including smoking cessation programs, cancer screening and efforts to create walkable communities."

Lowertown again named "up-and-coming" neighborhood

Hot on the heels of being named America's top hipster zip code by RealtyTrac, Lowertown in St. Paul in once again being lauded as a neighborhood to watch.

USA Today recently named Lowertown one of of "10 up-and-coming neighborhoods around the USA."  "Lowertown is home to the Union Depot, served by the city's new Green Line light rail, Amtrak tgrains, and bus companies," the article notes. "Other noteworthy attributes includes the St. Paul Farmer's Market (open year-round), Mears Park, a summer-long music venue, artists lofts in restored 19th century buidlings, Nice Ride bike-share stations and great restaurants like Barrio, The Bulldog, and Heartland Farm Direct Market and Restaurant, pioneers of "Midwest modern cuisine."

Saint Paul Hotel among the world's best says Travel+Leisure

Among Travel+Leisure's recent selection of top 500 hotels, only the Saint Paul Hotel make the cut in Minnesota. Writing about the hotel in its prestigious list, "The World's Best Hotels 2014," T+L said that "Despite the greeting by a doorman in a top hat, there's a delightful lack of pretense at this historic luxury hotel."

The article lauded the 1910 hotel's architecture by Reed and Stem (the same architects designed Grand Central Station in New York City), English garden, restaurants and bars, and views of downtown Saint Paul and the Missisippi River. And who knew? For guests of the hotel, an on-site seamstress is at-the-ready to fix a hem or sew a button.

Source: Travel+Leisure

Lowertown designated top hipster zip code

St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood recently snagged headlines for recognition as America’s top hipster zip code.

The label comes from RealtyTrac, which analyzed hipster zip code markets. RealtyTrac states in its study that while it's tough to pin down what exactly a hipster is, "there’s no doubt the culture surrounding the hipster lifestyle has a major impact on local real estate markets, and mostly in a positive way.”

An influx of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other amenities make a particular zip code stand out as hipster-ish. Such amenities translate into higher property values and rental rates, and lower vacancies and foreclosures, the study states. 

“As a nascent hipster market emerges, it can be an extremely appealing target for real estate investors looking to make some quick fix-and-flip profits or to purchase rental properties that provide a steady cash flow and the promise of strong appreciation going forward,” according to RealtyTrac.
Source: RealtyTrac 

Saint Paul artist Chris Larson selected for 2013 Whitney Biennial

Until now, Saint Paul artist Chris Larson was best known nationally for his entry in Northern Spark last summer: a full-scale model of a Saint Paul house designed by architect Marcel Breuer, which he burned down outside the Union Depot.

Of the spectacle, the New York Times wrote: "Mr. Larson was planning something more than an ordinary house fire. He aspired to an inferno. To this end, he had hired a company called Hollywood Pyrotechnics Inc. to string up baggies full of denatured alcohol as an accelerant. And a custom print shop had donated a few tons of scrap paper (obsolete business cards, defective wedding invitations) to stuff the shell with kindling. 'I want to burn it so fast there’s no time to mourn it,' Mr. Larson said."

Based on that work, plus Larson's other large-scale forays into construction, art, and ritual, the 2014 Whitney Biennial recently announced that Larson will be one its artists. On the Whitney website, Donna De Salvo, chief curator and deputy director for programs at the Whitney, noted that, "Together, the 103 participants offer one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years."

Larson teaches in the art department at the University of Minnesota. His specialities are scultpure, film/video, and performance installations. More of his work can be viewed on the Magnus Muller website.

Source: Whitney Biennial website

"Glee" actor coming to St. Paul to record radio show and podcast

Former “Glee” actor Stephen Tobolowsky is coming to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater to tape his syndicated radio show and podcast,  "The Tobolowsky Files," live on Oct. 10, the Pioneer Press reports.   

In the hit TV series, Tobolowsky was the glee club teacher early on. He's also appeared in many other roles on-screen, but he might be most known for his part as “the memory-challenged character who provides a key to the mystery in "Memento,”” the Pioneer Press story states. 

As a part of "The Tobolowsky Files,” the actor recounts personal tales about Hollywood, life, and love, the story adds. 

Local artist in Northern Spark featured in the New York Times

The New York Times featured local artist Chris Larson’s art installation that was a part of the recent Northern Spark.

For the St. Paul dusk-to-dawn art festival, Larson created a replica of Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer’s St. Paul house. Before an audience at the festival, Larson proceeded to burn down the house. It was the festival’s main attraction.    

Although Larson worked from 1961 blueprints of the house, he “made the walls and roof out of cardboard and two-by-four studs,” the story states.

Of the original, which is still standing, the story states, “Despite its heritage, the house has been neglected in books on Breuer.”

As for the burning of the replica, it may have been a statement about the architect, the design, or putting too much emphasis on one’s house--several people in the story weigh in on the significance of the pyrotechnics.  

'Wits' gets national stage

The locally produced comedy variety show “Wits” has made it to the next level.

A number of other National Public Radio stations are picking up the MPR show, which is recorded live at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, Kare11 reports.   

“Wits” includes such well-known talent as singer Rufus Wainright and “30 Rock” alum Kristen Schall, the story states.   

The show’s senior producer, Larissa Anderson, describes the winning formula for “Wits,” which mixes improv, comedy, music, and theater: "It's comedy, it's music, it's surprises; and sometimes things go off the rails, and we love it when that happens,” she says.

New York Times features Minnesota Opera's production of 'Doubt'

A recent feature in The New York Times centers on the Minnesota Opera’s premiere of “Doubt,” which opens January 26 and runs through Feb. 3. 

According to the article, playwright John Patrick Shanley was initially skeptical of the idea of rewriting the show, which had been a play and an award-winning movie, into an opera libretto.  

But it turned out to be a rewarding experience, Shanley says. “There’s a lot of feelings that could not be expressed in the play because of its austerity,” he says, adding, “But opera, even when it is austere, is as rich as chocolate cake. So that allowed me to go back and express a lot of things that I could not before and still tell the story"--a story which centers on the nature of the relationship between a Catholic proest and a young African-American boy.

Preparing for production, the Minnesota Opera hosted a number of workshops for composer Douglas J. Cuomo, Shanley, and stage director Kevin Newbury, the story states.

Newbury says of the resulting show, “It isn’t just about doubt, it’s doubt brought to life onstage. And it’s a particularly American play with all the questions about class and race and religion rolled up into one.”

Several local neighborhoods got high marks as 'art places' by ArtPlace America

Several Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods made ArtPlace America’s list for 2013 of the country’s top art destinations.

Every year, ArtPlace, a consortium of national arts groups, puts together a report that pinpoints the top “art places” in 33 of the country’s largest metro areas.  

Art places are those that have a “backbone of creative culture,” the ArtPlace website reads. Small local businesses and shops define these areas, which are often walkable. These are “neighborhoods where the arts are central to creating the kinds of places where people want to be.”

ArtPlace uses indicators such as the percentage of independent and arts-related businesses and organizations, walkability, and the number of people in creative professions.

In Minneapolis, Downtown West and Loring Park are on the list, while across the Mississippi River the Lowertown neighborhood is included.

St. Paul ice rink chosen by NBC for live coverage of 'Hockey Day in America'

Downtown St. Paul’s Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink will serve as the backdrop for NBC's live coverage of “Hockey Day in America,” the Pioneer Press reports.

The broadcast features four National Hockey League games on Feb. 19, including the Minnesota Wild vs. the Boston Bruins at the Xcel Energy Center.

“With ice at many lakes too soft to skate on, and temperatures unseasonably pleasant, more than 20,000 skaters have headed to downtown St. Paul for free ice time,” the story states. 

The choice of the rink as a broadcast backdrop means that it will be open an extra two weeks this year. 

Rice Park a Great Public Space

The American Planning Association (APA) put St. Paul's Rice Park in downtown St. Paul on its 2011 list of 10 Great Public Spaces across the country. 

Through the APA’s Great Places in America program, sites such as the historic park are recognized for “exceptional character and highlight the role planners play in creating communities of lasting value,” according to a press release about the award.   

The park, which is characterized by decorative lamps, statuary, benches, and a central fountain, “serves as much as a pathway and shortcut as it does a lunch stop, festival grounds, and outdoor sanctuary,” the release says.
The 1849-vintage park is also surrounded by a number of historic buildings, museums, and music halls that developed over the course of more than a century.  

St. Paul recognized for quality of life and business-friendliness

Saint Paul beat out hundreds of competitors to become a "top 10 city" for its quality of life and business-friendly environment.

The rankings were put together by FDi Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times Ltd., which tracks global business and investment trends.

The Cities of the Future process compares over 400 cities in North and South America, examining economic potential, human resources, cost effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure, and business-friendliness.

In a comment on the Financial Times results, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman cited significant infrastructure investments like the Central Corridor Light Rail Line as well as a revitalized bar and restaurant scene in Lowertown. He noted, "[W]e are focused on making Saint Paul a destination for living, working and playing."

Federal funding for Central Corridor makes national news

News of the finalization of the federal Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Central Corridor light-rail transit line made business pages nationally, with Bloomberg Businessweek and other news outlets running Associated Press stories on the topic.

The AP report what we probably know: that the feds have committed $478 million, half of the cost of the 11-mile line, expected to be completed in 2014. The AP reports that the project has created 570 jobs, just a fraction of the 3,400 construction, management, engineering and operations jobs the Met Council claims will be created.

In a related local story, KSTP Eyewitness News reported on scuttled plans to build a temporary sidewalk in Downtown St. Paul for a public celebration of the funding agreement. The 2,000 square feet of concrete would have been pulled out days later and cost taxpayers "tens of thousands of dollars," reports KSTP's Jay Kolls.

Local, state and federal officials did join to sign a six-foot section of light rail in celebration.

18 Downtown/Lowertown Articles | Page: | Show All
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