Lowertown’s Jax Building will be developed into artist-friendly lofts

The Jax Building, the former warehouse and artist studio space in St. Paul’s Lowertown, has been sold for $4 million-plus and will be converted into market-rate apartments.

New York-based VoR Development and Forterra Capital Partners jointly purchased the building, located downtown on the corner of 4th and Wacouta streets, as well as two adjacent parking lots. It has plans to gut the building and turn it into about 35 loft-style apartments with a retailer on the ground and basement floors, said VoR President Kyle Morque, early Thursday.

“It will be very Soho loft beautiful,” Morque said.

The Jax Building has been a part of the Lowertown art scene for more than 35 years as one of the few nonresidential options for artists to operate their studios. All of its tenants were out as of April 30. Last month, around 100 mourners held a wake for the building in Mears Park and decried the death of the artistic creativity some have felt has been disappearing from Lowertown as it has been an active site of redevelopment projects including luxury apartments in recent years.

The new units will mostly have two bedrooms making it possible for artists to have living and work space, Morque said. The retail tenant, which has yet to be announced, will appeal to the “artistic sense of the neighborhood,” he said.

The 60,000-square-foot building features over 11-foot ceilings on each of its five floors. The original concrete ceilings and columns of the Jax, which was one of the first poured concrete buildings in St. Paul, will be left exposed, Morque said. An old bird cage elevator will be cleaned and locked in place on the first floor. Skylights will also be restored.

“We’re trying to use as much of the building elements as possible,” Morque said.

VoR plans to announce the retailer in the next three months. Renovations start immediately, and by the end of next summer, tenants are expected to be able to move in.

Nicole Norfleet

Medical technology

Australian medical company opens regional office in Bloomington

Australian-based medical technology company ImpediMed Ltd, a public company led by a veteran Minnesota med-tech executive, has opened a regional office in Bloomington and added two more Minnesota medical veterans to its leadership.

The 55-employee firm also just raised about $75 million in additional equity to fund expansion.

The firm develops products using “bioimpedance spectroscopy” (BIS) to measure, monitor and manage fluid status and body composition for conditions that often strike cancer survivors.

ImpediMed, valued about $350 million, also recently signed a five-year, clinical trial agreement with the Rochester-based Mayo Clinic.

Expanding to the Twin Cities will allow the firm to “take advantage of the diverse and comprehensive medical technology, healthcare delivery and innovation ecosystem thriving across Minnesota,” said CEO Richard Carreon. “Minnesota is the perfect new home for growing our U.S. operations.”

Carreon, who spent a decade at Medtronic and who is a veteran corporate strategy-and-sales executive, took over ImpediMed in 2012.

Ann Holder, a Medtronic veteran, is senior vice president of operations. Jack Cosentino, another Medtronic veteran who also once was chief technology officer of trade-group Medical Alley Association, has signed on as chief strategy officer at ImpediMed.

Neal St. Anthony


Ackerberg, King Solutions, HealthPartners are winners of Business Ethics Awards

The Ackerberg Group, King Solutions and HealthPartners are the 2016 winners in the small, midsize and large-company categories of the Minnesota Business Ethics Awards.

“This year’s MBE recipients have made exemplary strides in creating business cultures that aspire to achieve high ethical standards,” said Brian Volkmann, co-chair of the business ethics awards that were started in 1999. “They endeavor to make the best out of any situation while serving the interests of all stakeholders.”

The finalists included Lakeview Bank, Peoples Bank Midwest, Star Choice Credit Union, Premier Disability Services and Ecolab.

The awards are sponsored by the Twin Cities chapter of the Society of Financial Services Professionals, the Center for Ethical Business Cultures at the University of St. Thomas business school and the local chapter of Financial Executives International.

Numerous companies over the years have said going through the rigorous process of exploring how and why they integrate ethics that considers the interests of shareholders, customers, employees and communities into their business-process decisions has helped to make them better, higher-performing organizations. More information:

Neal St. Anthony