GRAND PLACE, 870 GRAND AVENUE, ST. PAUL, MN

Grand Place is a retail center at the most visible intersection on St. Paul’s premier commercial district. The project was part of a six-building retail portfolio assembled by Exeter Group over a period of years with a combined value of more than $65 million. Grand Place was completed in late 2001.

The Grand Place project was a ground-up development involving the acquisition of a one-acre surface parking lot and the construction of a street-level retail building and a two-level parking ramp for 209 vehicles above the retail building. The parking was hidden behind five distinctive architectural facades with spandrel glass windows, which read as separate buildings to blend in with the historic character of the Grand Avenue streetscape.

The project underwent a lengthy and contentious municipal entitlement process before it was approved. Construction was complicated by the removal of underground petroleum storage tanks not disclosed in environmental assessment reports and transporting contaminated soil to off-site locations. The weight of the parking ramp and expected vehicle load required the installation of multiple concrete pilings to a depth of 35 feet below grade.

  • Project cost: $15 million ($65 million value for 6 buildings in retail portfolio)
  • Project size: 140,000 SF
  • Uses: 39,000 SF retail center and 209 structured parking stalls
  • Completion: 2001
  • Architect: Pope Associates
  • Contractor: McGough Construction
  • Debt: U.S. Bank
  • Equity: Local investors and public pension fund from Columbus, OH
  • Tenants: Pottery Barn, J Crew, lululemon athletica, and HealthEast (plus Café Latte, Salut, Chipotle, Ann Taylor Loft, Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, Smith & Hawken, and North Face in other portfolio buildings)

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