After two previous deals fell apart, the St. Paul Port Authority confirmed Friday that it has bid on the shuttered Macy’s department store in downtown St. Paul.
The store was closed in March 2013 by the Cincinnati-based retailer after years of sluggish sales.
In a statement, the Port Authority said that if Macy’s accepts the offer, its credit committee and full board will consider the purchase. Pending approval, a Jan. 29 closing is scheduled.
It’s unclear how the authority would redevelop the 362,000-square-foot store, and terms of the offer were not disclosed.
Port Authority President Louis Jambois said Macy’s has not yet accepted the offer, which was made Friday after talks began in earnest about a week and a half ago. He said he didn’t know whether other offers had been made.
“We’ve been in touch with Macy’s for a long time,” he said. “We’ve been on the periphery for a while.”
San Francisco-based City Center Partners reportedly bid on the five-story building last September, but that deal unraveled, said Joe Campbell, spokesman for Mayor Chris Coleman.
The firm, which has extensive experience buying and developing urban retail-oriented projects, has completed several projects in the Twin Cities in recent years. Officials from the firm could not be reached for comment Friday.
The identity of the second bidder is unclear.
According to e-mails obtained by the Star Tribune last fall, the Port Authority and city officials last summer were considering a pre-emptive purchase of the Macy’s store by the Port Authority for $3.2 million. The estimated market value of the building and land is $8.8 million.
The Port Authority has partnered with the city in the past to jump-start developments. With the city strapped for cash, it was the Port Authority that bought the Gillette/Diamond Products factory in downtown St. Paul to clear the site for the new $63 million Saints’ ballpark. The Port Authority turned the site over to the city and took the city-owned Midway Stadium site in lieu of payment.
Macy’s spokesman Jim Sluzewski said Friday, “We can confirm the store is for sale, but will have no comment until we have a sale.”
When asked when such an announcement would occur, he said, “When they have the keys and we have a check.”