The downtown St. Paul post office will be converted in 250 units of market-rate rental housing by veteran St. Paul developer Jim Stolpe­stad, an owner of Exeter Realty and the Ironton Asset Fund.

The 17-story riverfront building on Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul, known as the Eugene McCarthy Post Office, had been home to the post office processing center until it moved to Eagan in 2010.

Stolpestad and his team have been involved with several high-profile residential and commercial projects, including the construction of the Cobalt Condominium building and Lunds grocery store across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis.

With apartment vacancy rates at near-record lows, historic buildings like the post office have been prime candidates for conversion into apartments because of the availability of tax credits for historic buildings. The Pillsbury A Mill also along the Mississippi riverfront is in the midst of conversion into apartments for artists. And Ironton was involved with the recent conversion of the Chittenden & Eastman warehouse building along University Avenue in St. Paul into the C&E Lofts, a 104-unit apartment building.

Terms of the deal were unavailable, but Stolpestad said that conversion could begin in August pending due diligence and a timely closing.

Jim Buchta