Real Estate Equities has signed a purchase agreement for the Pioneer Press Building. The Stencil Group out of Sioux Falls, SD, owns the building and had been planning to convert the former offices of the Pioneer Press to market rate housing.
In a meeting with the CapitolRiver Council Board on January 18th, 2017, Bill Bisanz, President of Real Estate Equities, discussed their intent.
“Our plans are to convert the building to 143 units of transportation oriented workforce housing.” Mr. Bisanz describes workforce housing as being non-subsidized, but more affordable than some of the product that has recently entered the market in downtown St. Paul. 80% of the units will be 1 bedroom with the remainder 2 bedroom.
The units will have a contemporary design, unique urban amenities and high-end finishes (like washer dryers in unit, granite counter tops, etc.). Given its location to the core of CBD and the Central Station, Real Estate Equities is betting it should be popular for both downtown St. Paul employees, and also for those working in other parts of the city and along the Green Line. They anticipate the building will be open for occupancy by mid-summer to early fall in 2018.
When asked why Real Estate Equities chose to invest in downtown St. Paul, Mr. Bisanz said, “We’re enthusiastic about downtown St. Paul and feel that this particular property will serve a part of the community that has been underserved over the past several years. This property is historic and its simplicity really suits our vision to create this wonderful housing amenity that will build on downtown St. Paul’s residential community and be a resource for our St. Paul businesses whose employees want to live close to where they work.”
“This is a great opportunity for downtown St. Paul to add a valuable project to our housing mix,” said Joe Spartz, President of BOMA. “Its completion will help to revitalize a section of the skyway that has been in need of attention for some time now.”
In addition to the conversion of the building to residential, Real Estate Equities is considering how to use some of the exterior space on the west side of the property to take advantage of the 4th Market District plans.