Once a glaring example of St. Paul’s office space problems, 10 River Park Plaza is enjoying a renaissance of sorts, with new ownership and new or expanding tenants.

The eight-story building, situated across the Mississippi River from downtown, was struggling to fill even half its 322,000 square feet just a few years ago. Its latest occupancy level, buoyed by new leases, is hovering around 90 percent.

“It sat there for a long time with nothing happening,” said Pete Dufour, vice president of office leasing with Colliers International, Minneapolis-St. Paul office, who handles the building’s leasing.

The lender had repossessed the building before auctioning it off last summer for more than $20 million. The new owner, New York-based Cohen Equities, is investing money to improve the common areas, a step that is helping to draw new users, Dufour said.

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare recently signed a lease for the entire sixth floor. The St. Paul Pioneer Press moved in to the seventh floor last month.

Last year, one of the building’s largest tenants, Comcast, recommitted to staying in the building, but it downsized by an entire floor. Then, executives at its main corporate office in Philadelphia decided to expand the St. Paul operation. Local executives last month signed up to take back the second floor, which it previously occupied. The end result: an additional 50,400 square feet to its footprint.

Comcast is spending $2.5 million to renovate the reclaimed space, according to a city of St. Paul building permit issued the last week of December.

That leaves only the fifth floor vacant, or 36,000 square feet. Dufour said the renovations to its conference and fitness centers have proved to be key selling points for prospective users.

They’ve got one more: “We have free parking, and that’s a big deal,” he said.

Kristen Leigh Painter