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Continued: Pioneer Endicott redo proving a hit in downtown St. Paul

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 10, 2014 - 10:32 PM

“I wanted something small and cute and near all the things that I liked,” she said.

Historic structures

The St. Paul Pioneer Press opened its skyscraper in 1889, at 12 stories slightly taller than the nearby tower of the competing Daily Globe (four more stories were added in 1910). The two six-story Endicott buildings opened in 1890 on either side of the Pioneer; they were designed by Cass Gilbert, who kept his offices there for more than 20 years.

The buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Gilbert drew up the State Capitol there, and Ecolab was founded there by Merritt Osborn. Northwest Airlines opened its first ticket office there.

“They are among the very few surviving late 19th-century office buildings in the Twin Cities, and the Pioneer is the last surviving light-court building in Minnesota,” said Larry Millett, a local writer and historian who will publish a book on the Pioneer and Endicott buildings this year.

Longtime St. Paul developer John Mannillo, who once owned, managed and restored the buildings, applauded what Pakonen and Blaiser are doing.

“These old buildings built for offices don’t serve that purpose anymore,” he said. “They are taking something they could never rebuild, and reusing it.”

Pakonen has successfully developed other downtown St. Paul office buildings that found new life as condos, such as the Rossmor and the Lowry.

“There’s a lot of development in Minneapolis, but there are a lot of customers who when they say they’re going downtown, they mean St. Paul,” he said. “We’re there serving those customers.”

Kevin Duchschere • 651-925-5035





  • related content

  • A view of the Pioneer and part of the Endicott building on Robert Str...

  • TOP RIGHT: One of the six-story Endicott buildings and the 16-story Pioneer building, at 4th and Robert Streets in downtown St. Paul.Above: The atrium in the Pioneer. It’s “the last surviving light-court building in Minnesota,” said Larry Millett, local writer and historian.

  • Live-work spaces at the Pioneer building. Law student and consultant Samantha Ivey, 23, rents a live-work studio at Pioneer Endicott. She “wanted something small and cute” near her favorite amenities.

  • A view of the Pioneer and part of the Endicott building on Robert Street in St Paul Wednesday, January 8, 2014. ] (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE) kyndell.harkness@startribune.com

  • Mike Zipko, of Zipko Strategy, looked at his phone as he talked about the view from this two bedroom in one of the model apartments in Pioneer Building in St Paul Wednesday, January 8, 2014. ] (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE) kyndell.harkness@startribune.com

  • on Robert Stree

    Pioneer Endicott

    Three downtown St. Paul office buildings dating from 1889-90 have been turned into an upscale apartment building with modern amenities.

    Space: 378,000 square feet (one 16-story building, two six-story buildings)

    Apartment units: 234 (studio, 1BR, 2BR, 2BR with den)

    Finished apartments: 190

    Rented apartments: 130 to 140

    Monthly rent: $865 to $3,200

    Commercial space: 31,900 square feet

    Project cost: $46 million

    Tax-increment (public) financing: $2.5 million

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