What’s making news in St. Paul, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to richard.meryhew@startribune.com.

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The X and RiverCentre are easy on the environment

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: December 3, 2014 - 2:31 PM

Gary Bettman, commissioner of the National Hockey League, will be at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday morning to announce that the Minnesota Wild’s home arena, along with the rest of the RiverCentre complex, is high on sustainability.

The downtown St. Paul entertainment complex, which includes the convention center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium, this year won three of the biggest prizes in the green world: certification from LEED, Green Globes and APEX/ASTM, all organizations that make independent judgments on environmentally-sound construction and operations.

Kathy Ross of the Wild, which manages RiverCentre for the city, said that getting all three certifications is a first for a complex of this sort. And most such honors of this sort go to newly-built structures, not buildings that went up years ago.

Officials say that RiverCentre and Xcel Center recycle 60 percent of its waste, use solar energy and wind power to reduce carbon by more than half, save thousands of gallons of water with faucet aerators, and buy office products and cleaning materials that are environmentally preferable.

Joining Bettman at an 11 a.m. news conference at Xcel will be Mayor Chris Coleman, Wild owner Craig Leopold and RiverCentre general manager Jim Ibister.

Maplewood police investigate armed robbery

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: October 24, 2014 - 5:11 PM

Police are investigating the armed robberies of Walgreens locations in White Bear Lake and Maplewood that happened back-to-back Friday.

At about 3:30 a.m., Maplewood police were called to the Walgreens in the 2900 block of White Bear Avenue on the report of an armed robbery. Employees said a man pointed a handgun at them, made repeated threats to shoot them and demanded money from the registers. The man, who was dressed in dark clothing with a scarf that covered most of his face, left the store with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was injured during the incident. Police weren't able to find the suspect.

A short time later, a Walgreens in White Bear Lake was robbed by a suspect with a similar description. Investigators from the Maplewood and White Bear Lake police are working to determine if the robberies are connected with others in the metro area.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call 651-767-0640 or 9-1-1. Anonymous text message tips can be sent by texting the word Maplewood and the tip information to TIP411 (847411).

Opus recommended to develop Seven Corners Gateway site

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: October 16, 2014 - 12:22 PM

A partnership led by Opus Development Co. has been recommended to develop the Seven Corners Gateway site in downtown St. Paul, a small but highly visible parcel across from Xcel Energy Center for which the city has had big plans for years.

The Opus proposal, put forward with Greco Development, includes a hotel, market-rate multi-family housing and retail stores surrounding a public plaza. Retail possibilities include restaurants, convenience shops and entertainment.

In a prepared statement, Mayor Chris Coleman said the Opus proposal “is continued proof of the city’s vitality and economic momentum.”

If the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority – made up of City Council members – approves the tentative developer agreement at next week’s meeting, Opus and Greco will have 18 months to formalize the proposal.

The site is considered valuable for its proximity to downtown, the W. 7th Street entertainment area and the Smith Avenue Transit Center.

The city issued a request for proposals in July to develop the 2.4-acre site, bounded by W. 7th Street and Kellogg Boulevard. Officials were seeking a mixed-use plan that included a vibrant entertainment district.

The Opus proposal was chosen over the only other proposal received, from M.A. Mortenson Co.

Green Line projects win Knight grants

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: October 14, 2014 - 10:14 AM

Sixteen projects designed to enhance St. Paul neighborhoods along the Green Line light-rail corridor have been awarded a total of $530,000 in grants this week by the Knight Foundation.

The grant amounts range from $75,000, given to a public arts project commemorating black railroad workers and to restoration of the Victoria Theater, to $3,700 for a wayfinding public art project near the Fairview Avenue station.

Other winning projects include beautification of the Interstate 94 bridges, installing green community space alongside Big Daddy's BBQ, and expanding a community plaza and street market in the Little Mekong district.

The winners were chosen from among 579 applicants to the Knight Green Line Challenge, a $1.5 million program to develop Green Line neighborhoods in St. Paul. The program will continue for two more years.

Eleven community reviewers narrowed the list to 48 finalists, with the winners chosen by reviewers and representatives of the Knight and St. Paul foundations.

For a complete list of the winners, go to www.knightgreenlinechallenge.org/.

Burglar breaks through wall of St. Paul store, steals $50,000 in merchandise

Posted by: Nicole Norfleet Updated: September 25, 2014 - 10:10 AM

A St. Paul sportswear store was burglarized early Tuesday when someone smashed through a wall and snagged thousands of dollars in merchandise.

At least one burglar, and possibly more, smashed a hole through an exterior brick and block wall at the Sports Dome and took off with at least $50,000 worth of clothes and other items, including leather jackets and jeans, St. Paul police said Wednesday.

Police are asking for the public's help to catch the thief or thieves.

Police responded to an alarm about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at the store, located at 1505 University Av. W. But when officers arrived, they found the building and doors to be secured, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, spokesman for the St. Paul police. Hours later, the owner reported the burglary to police. It's believed that the heist happened between 5:30 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.

Anyone with information about the case should call the police at 651-266-5574.

The above photo is courtesy of the St. Paul Police Department.


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