The former home of the Pioneer Press newspaper in downtown St. Paul has been sold for the second time in two years and is planned to be turned into affordable housing.

The eight-story building, located at 345 Cedar St., was purchased for about $8.7 million, according to an electronic certificate of real estate value made available Monday.

The building has been empty since the newspaper sold the building in 2015 to South Dakota developer Stencil Group. The newspaper moved to River Park Plaza across the Mississippi River from downtown.

Stencil Group had planned to turn the property into between 150 and 168 market-rate apartments that were expected to be ready last year.

However, the project stalled as the Stencil Group was “unable to package a financially feasible market rate multifamily project,” according to city documents.

New owner St. Paul-based Real Estate Equities plans to convert the more than 160,000-square-foot property into a 143-unit affordable-housing building, according to a city report. Rents are expected to range from $949 for a studio to $1,086 for a two-bedroom unit.

The redevelopment for the 1950s-era building is estimated to cost more than $49 million. Real Estate Equities was approved to receive up to $24 million in affordable housing revenue bonds from the city.

Representatives for Real Estate Equities were not immediately available for comment Monday.


Twitter: @nicolenorfleet