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Lisa Norcross and daughter Evelyn, 6, of Plymouth, shopped Whole Foods in Maple Grove earlier this year. A new Whole Foods is moving ahead in St. Paul.

Bruce Bisping • bbisping@startribune.com,

Deal clears way for St. Paul's Whole Foods project

  • Article by: Janet Moore
  • Star Tribune
  • September 26, 2013 - 9:25 PM

A key piece of an ambitious development anchored by a Whole Foods store that will redefine St. Paul’s Union Park neighborhood has fallen in place.

The Getten Credit building on Snelling Avenue was sold to Green Bay, Wis.-based Associated Bank for $525,000, according to a real estate documents submitted in Ramsey County Sept. 5. The low-slung structure will be razed to make way for a new branch for the bank near the intersection of Snelling and Dayton Avenues, a project expected to be completed by early next summer.

That, in turn, will free up land for the main part of the development — called the Vintage on Selby — which will include a 38,000-square-foot Whole Foods grocery store, 204 upscale apartments and four townhouses at Snelling and Selby Avenues.

Twin Cities-based developers Ryan Cos. and the Excelsior Group were hired by Associated Bank to develop the expansive project. The two firms have already teamed up for a similar $70 million project in Minneapolis called 222 Hennepin, which also includes a Whole Foods store and apartments.

A request to rezone much of the property to permit greater density won planning board approval this month; a vote by the St. Paul City Council on the matter is scheduled for Oct. 16.

The developers still must secure site-plan approval from the city, but that’s largely an administrative process, said Josh Williams, a St. Paul city planner.

The entire project is expected to be completed in two years. It has been closely watched by those with an interest in the emerging neighborhood, now home to O’Gara’s Bar, a fitness studio, cafes, vintage clothing stores and assorted other shops.

Cecile Bedor, director of the city’s Planning and Economic Development Department, said in an e-mail, “The investment by key property owners over the last few years has really energized the Selby-Snelling area. Ryan recognized that this area has really taken off, and their proposal will complement the other retail in the area, and make this part of our city an even more attractive place to live and work.”

Associated Bank is the catalyst behind its own expansion, as well as the Vintage on Selby component. When the bank bought the former Liberty Bank branch, it also purchased the surrounding land that is now being developed. Several suitors reportedly pitched development ideas for the spot, with Ryan and the Excelsior Group winning out last fall.

The Getten Credit building, at 202 N. Snelling Av., was sold by Dennis and Kathryn Getten. Founded in 1961, Getten Credit is “one of a handful of independent finance companies remaining in Minnesota,” according to its website. Its offices will move to 1338 Bayard Av. in St. Paul.

Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

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