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Ortega said that he’s already received calls from a handful of developers about the county buildings. He said he’d like to see a hotel there to enhance St. Paul’s convention business.
Cecile Bedor, the city’s planning and economic development director, said she hoped for “something iconic, something dense” that also allows for public views of the river. She said it would be a great spot for a combination of uses, including a hotel, class A office space or condos.
“We want to see some creative architecture that honors the land, honors the river and really makes a 100-year statement about downtown,” she said.
Patrick Seeb, executive director of the St. Paul Riverfront Corp., said the site can help the city “urbanize” the river and enhance its connection to downtown. He said any development should open sight lines to the river and include a “river balcony” allowing people to stroll the bluff from the Science Museum to the Wabasha bridge.
“The county is doing the right thing in finding out how much it would cost to do the demo. It will open up people’s eyes to the site,” Seeb said.
Stolpestad said he had only one concern about tearing down the buildings.
“If you clear it off, people will get so used to the nice views that they’ll never let you build there,” he said.
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