Biz beat: West St. Paul acquiring sites along Robert Street

  • Article by: SUSAN FEYDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2013 - 9:41 PM

West St. Paul has spent more than $2.5 million to date to acquire properties on and near Robert Street as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to upgrade its busiest commercial corridor.

Community Development Director Jim Hartshorn said that as result, three businesses will close and vacate their sites by the end of May.

The largest deal so far is the $1.3 million spent by the city to acquire West Side Lanes out of foreclosure. The acquisition, which closed late last year, involved buying out two lenders and acquiring the property redemption rights of the bowling alley’s owners, Hartshorn said.

“It’s a big property — there are two lots — with a great deal of potential as a redevelopment site,” Hartshorn said of the parcel at 1625 Robert St. Although the area has several fast-food outlets, the city has long had a goal of adding more fine dining and sit-down restaurants to the commercial strip.

West Side Lanes, which has operated on Robert Street since 1956, has no plans to relocate. But Hartshorn said the city is working to find new sites for two other businesses whose properties the city is acquiring and will demolish.

The A to Z Rental site at 1654 Livingston Av. will be turned into additional parking for the city’s new sports dome. The site of Car X at 1589 Robert St. will be torn down so the road can be widened as part of the city’s revitalization program for the street.

“We’re working with local brokers and hoping that both businesses choose to remain in our city,” Hartshorn said.

Hartshorn said it’s possible the city may move to buy other properties in the area and is considering acquiring one, which he declined to identify, on the north end of the Robert Street.

Job Fair set for Eagan

South metro area job seekers will get the opportunity to meet potential employers and hone job-searching skills during this year’s Get Jobs Job Fair from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Eagan Civic Arena.

More than 100 exhibitors are expected to participate, including businesses and organizations with hundreds of job openings ranging from entry-level to professional positions. Educational institutions that offer training programs also will be on hand to advise job seekers.

In addition to one-on-one sessions, this year’s event will have a workshop on how to prepare a résumé.

“This annual event has been highly successful in connecting job seekers with contacts that lead to employment,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). She noted that last year’s job fair drew more than 1,700 attendees.

WorkForce Centers in Burnsville, Shakopee and West St. Paul will provide free shuttle buses. Sign language interpreters will be available.

The Dakota and Scott County WorkForce Centers, the Dakota/Scott County Workforce Investment Board and DEED are sponsoring the event.

For further details, including a list of exhibitors, information about transportation and other pre-fair assistance, go to www.positivelyminnesota.com/getjobs or contact Mike Lang at 952-895-7641 or mike.lang@state.mn.us.

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