Two buildings on St. Paul’s East Side, one a landmark library that is one of the city’s oldest public buildings and the other a 45-year-old vacant fire station, will be sold in the coming weeks and converted to other uses.
The city is seeking a new owner for the Arlington Hills Library, built nearly a century ago with funds from steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie, but it’s not going to be sold to just anybody. The brick and ornamental stone, tile-roofed structure at the corner of Greenbrier Street and Jessamine Avenue is designed in the Beaux Arts style, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and was declared a St. Paul Heritage Preservation Site a year later.
It’s one of three Carnegie libraries in St. Paul — the other two are the St. Anthony Park and Riverview branches with identical dimensions — and one of 65 built statewide with money bequeathed by Carnegie to build more than 2,500 libraries nationwide.
While the building will remain in place, the library itself is moving a few blocks north as part of the Payne-Maryland Project. That public/private effort, poised to open early next year, will result in a building complex housing the library, Arlington Recreation Center, Arlington Hills Lutheran Church, Bradshaw Celebration of Life Centers and possibly other community service organizations.
As for the old library building, the city’s request for proposals says possible reuses “could include a coffee bar, museum, learning facility, clinic, community arts space, cultural center or other viable purposes.” The buyer, it adds, will have to be willing to work with the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission to help decide its future.
An appraisal put the 7,250-square-foot building’s value at $365,000.
The proposals will be evaluated after the deadline of Oct. 30, said Jill Boldenow, spokeswoman for the St. Paul Public Library system. That will be followed by a couple of weeks of reviews before a final decision is made. A committee comprising representatives from the library system, the city’s Real Estate and Contracts Division, the executive director of the Payne-Phalen District 5 Planning Council and local residents will make the decision.
The fire station building, Old Engine House No. 24 on the corner of E. 7th and Flandrau Streets a block west of White Bear Avenue, does not have that kind of historic cachet. The original fire station was built in 1916, but it was replaced by the two-story brick structure in 1968. The property has been vacant since 2002 and has been used by the Fire Department to store equipment and supplies.
The building is in an area zoned for small business, but the request for proposal notes it could also be rezoned for residential use. At 5,760 square feet, the building has an appraised value of $142,500.
Like the library building, purchase proposals will be reviewed after they are received on Nov. 27 before a buyer is chosen.