Five years after Macy’s closed in downtown St. Paul, city officials and business leaders on Tuesday celebrated that building’s reopening as Treasure Island Center, a mixed-use project with offices, a brewery and a practice ice rink for the Minnesota Wild.
“We thought this was too crucial of an intersection to leave it to chance. … We felt we had to do something,” said Lee Krueger, president of the St. Paul Port Authority, which purchased the property in 2014 and then went on to lead the development.
The 540,000-square-foot building sits on the corner of Wabasha and 6th streets in the heart of downtown. It was constructed in 1962 and first opened as a Dayton’s before it later became a Marshall Field’s and after that Macy’s. In 2013, the Macy’s store closed, ending a century of department store shopping in downtown St. Paul.
“It means a lot to have this corner reopened and revitalized,” said new St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
Carter said he expects Treasure Island Center to attract more people downtown and add to the vibrancy of the city.
The Tria Rink on the fifth and top floor can seat 1,200 spectators and will be open to the public as well as serve as the practice rink for the Wild, which had been the only NHL team without an official practice rink.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Wild President Matt Majka. The rink will also host youth hockey games and Hamline University’s men’s and women’s games.
“The location, you can’t ask for anything more,” said Scott Wege, brewmaster for Stacked Deck.
While most of the construction is complete, there is still some work to be done to complete some of the tenants’ spaces.
“It is a facility that is really for everyone,” said Josh Krsnak, president of developer Hempel Cos., which partnered with the Port Authority for the project.
A major partner for the development was the Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council, which runs the Treasure Island Resort and Casino, which signed a multiyear agreement for naming and sponsorship rights. A buffalo heart was buried under the building to signify abundance and generosity, said Art Owen, tribal elder and spiritual leader for the Prairie Island Indian Community who sung in Dakota at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“St. Paul has great meaning to our tribe. … We believe in embracing our neighbors,” said Shelley Buck, president of the Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Council.
Treasure Island Center is one of several new office buildings that have been recently developed in downtown St. Paul. Last week, the Osborn370 building, which is one block away from Treasure Island Center celebrated its grand opening. The former Ecolab headquarters is being transformed into an office innovation center. The 428, which most know as the old Woolworth building, is also being redeveloped as creative office space.
While there has been a lot of office development activity in St. Paul, the city still struggles with office vacancy. The occupancy rate for competitive office space dropped in 2017 to 79.2 percent from 83.4 percent the year before, according to a recent market report by the Greater St. Paul Building Owners and Managers Association.