Halloween has a Capital City, and it’s in Minnesota

In the Northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities, you may be surprised to find a slice of Halloween history. In fact, the city of Anoka is officially the “Halloween Capital of the World.” While our modern version of the Halloween holiday is still relatively new, Anoka has been celebrating it for nearly a century.

Halloween in Anoka: Carved PumpkinIn 1920, civic leaders in Anoka organized a parade for on Halloween eve, purportedly to divert young pranksters from causing trouble. This is beleived to be the earliest recorded Halloween parade in the country, and the city has been celebrating Halloween with parades and other events every year since; excluding 1942-43. In 1937, Congress made it official and declared Anoka the “Halloween Capital of the World.”

The all-volunteer organizers of this year’s events have quite the lineup of events scheduled througought the month of October: there’s a day and night parade, the “Gray Ghost” 5k and 1-mile fitness walk, pumpkin carving contests for kids and adults, and much more. Find out more at the Anoka Halloween event website!

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Minnesota Trivia: 50 Fun Facts

Minnesota Trivia: 50 Fun Facts

Minnesota has been a part of the United States since 1858, and since then it has collected a substantial amount of “firsts”, both nationally and internationally. Whether it be scientific breakthroughs like the CDC 6600 Supercomputer (#35), prominent cultural centers like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or Guthrie Theatre (#8-9), or inexplicable oddities like the world’s largest concrete pelican (#7), you’re sure to be surprised by some of these fun facts!

This article was originally posted to 50States.com and credits  Phil Douglas and Ward Blumer. 

  1. Minnesotan baseball commentator Halsey Hal was the first to say ‘Holy Cow’ during a baseball broadcast.
  2. The Mall of America in Bloomington is the size of 78 football fields — 9.5 million square feet.
  3. Minnesota Inventions: Masking and Scotch tape, Wheaties cereal, Bisquick, HMOs, the bundt pan, Aveda beauty products, and Green Giant vegetables
  4. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 allowing oceangoing ships to reach Duluth.
  5. Minneapolis is home to the oldest continuously running theater (Old Log Theater) and the largest dinner theater (Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in the country.
  6. The original name of the settlement that became St. Paul was Pig’s Eye. Named for the French-Canadian whiskey trader, Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant, who had led squatters to the settlement.
  7. The world’s largest pelican stands at the base of the Mill Pond dam on the Pelican River, right in downtown Pelican Rapids. The 15 1/2 feet tall concrete statue was built in 1957.
  8. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.
  9. The Guthrie Theater is the largest regional playhouse in the country.
  10. Minneapolis’ famed skyway system connecting 52 blocks (nearly five miles) of downtown makes it possible to live, eat, work and shop without going outside.
  11. Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city in the country.
  12. The climate-controlled Metrodome is the only facility in the country to host a Super Bowl, a World Series and a NCAA Final Four Basketball Championship.
  13. Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
  14. The nation’s first Better Business Bureau was founded in Minneapolis in 1912.
  15. The first open heart surgery and the first bone marrow transplant in the United States were done at the University of Minnesota.
  16. Bloomington and Minneapolis are the two farthest north latitude cities to ever host a World Series game.
  17. Madison is the “Lutefisk capital of the United States”.
  18. Rochester is home of the world famous Mayo Clinic. The clinic is a major teaching and working facility. It is known world wide for its doctor’s expertise and the newest methods of treatments.
  19. The Bergquist cabin, built in 1870 by John Bergquist, a Swedish immigrant, is the oldest house in Moorhead still on its original site.
  20. For many years, the world’s largest twine ball has sat in Darwin. It weighs 17,400 pounds, is twelve feet in diameter, and was the creation of Francis A. Johnson.
  21. The stapler was invented in Spring Valley.
  22. In 1956, Southdale, in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, was the first enclosed climate-controlled suburban Shop50states.
  23. Private Milburn Henke of Hutchinson was the first enlisted man to land with the first American Expeditionary Force in Europe in WWII on January 26, 1942.
  24. The first practical water skis were invented in 1922 by Ralph W. Samuelson, who steam-bent 2 eight-foot-long pine boards into skies. He took his first ride behind a motorboat on a lake in Lake City.
  25. In Olivia a single half-husked cob towers over a roadside gazebo. It is 25 feet tall, made of fiberglass, and has been up since 1973.
  26. The first Children’s department in a Library is said to be that of the Minneapolis Public Library, which separated children’s books from the rest of the collection in Dec. 1889.
  27. The first Automatic Pop-up toaster was marketed in June 1926 by McGraw Electric Co. in Minneapolis under the name Toastmaster. The retail price was $13.50.
  28. On September 2, 1952, a 5 year old girl was the first patient to under go a heart operation in which the deep freezing technique was employed. Her body temperature, except for her head, was reduced to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Dr. Floyd Lewis at the Medical School of the University of Minnesota performed the operation.
  29. The first Aerial Ferry was put into Operation on April 9, 1905, over the ship canal between Duluth to Minnesota Point. It had room enough to accommodate 6 automobiles. Round trip took 10 min.
  30. Rollerblades were the first commercially successful in-line Roller Skates. Minnesota students Scott and Brennan Olson invented them in 1980, when they were looking for a way to practice Hockey during the off-season. Their design was an ice hockey boot with 3 inline wheels instead of a blade.
  31. The first Intercollegiate Basketball game was played in Minnesota on February 9,1895.
  32. In 1919 a Minneapolis factory turned out the nations first armored cars.
  33. Tonka Trucks were developed and are continued to be manufactured in Minnetonka.
  34. Hormel Company of Austin marketed the first canned ham in 1926. Hormel introduced Spam in 1937.
  35. Introduced in August 1963, The Control Data 6600, designed by Control Data Corp. of Chippewa Falls, was the first Super Computer. It was used by the military to simulate nuclear explosions and break Soviet codes. These computers also were used to model complex phenomena such as hurricanes and galaxies.
  36. Candy maker Frank C. Mars of Minnesota introduced the Milky Way candy bar in 1923. Mars marketed the Snickers bar in 1930 and introduced the 5 cent Three Musketeers bar in 1937. The original 3 Musketeers bar contained 3 bars in one wrapper. Each with different flavor nougat.
  37. A Jehovah’s Witness was the first patient to receive a transfusion of artificial blood in 1979 at the University of Minnesota Hospital. He had refused a transfusion of real blood because of his religious beliefs.
  38. Minnesota has one recreational boat per every six people, more than any other state.
  39. There are 201 Mud Lakes, 154 Long Lakes, and 123 Rice Lakes commonly named in Minnesota.
  40. The Hull-Rust mine in Hibbing became the largest open-pit mine in the world.
  41. Minnesota’s waters flow outward in three directions: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
  42. At the confluence of the Big Fork and Rainy Rivers on the Canadian border near International Falls stands the largest Indian burial mound in the upper midwest. It is known as the Grand Mound historic site.
  43. Author Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on Plum Creek near Walnut Grove.
  44. Akeley is birthplace and home of world’s largest Paul Bunyan Statue. The kneeling Paul Bunyan is 20 feet tall. He might be the claimed 33 feet tall, if he were standing.
  45. Hibbing is the birthplace of the American bus industry. It sprang from the business acumen of Carl Wickman and Andrew “Bus Andy” Anderson – who opened the first bus line (with one bus) between the towns of Hibbing and Alice in 1914. The bus line grew to become Greyhound Lines, Inc.
  46. The first official hit in the Metrodome in Minneapolis was made by Pete Rose playing for the Cincinnati Reds in a preseason game.
  47. Polaris Industries of Roseau invented the snowmobile.
  48. Twin Cities-based Northwest Airlines was the first major airline to ban smoking on international flights.
  49. Alexander Anderson of Red Wing discovered the processes to puff wheat and rice giving us the indispensable rice cakes.
  50. In 1898, the Kensington Rune stone was found on the farm of Olaf Ohman, near Alexandria. The Kensington Rune stone carvings allegedly tell of a journey of a band of Vikings in 1362.

This article was originally posted to 50States.com and credits  Phil Douglas and Ward Blumer. 

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The Twin Cities from a New Perspective

Whether you’ve lived in the Twin Cities your entire life, or if you’ve never set foot in the “land of 10,000 lakes”, photographer Chad Halvorson’s unique image compilation is sure to change your perception of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The artist’s new video, Twin Cities in HDR, is the result of a summertime visit and a lot of time-lapse photography. Halvorson used a technique called HDR, which stands for “High Dynamic Range,” to capture wide variety of colors and the crisp, high-definition look of the images.

Twin Cities in HDR from Chad Halvorson on Vimeo.

The video features some of Minneapolis and St. Paul’s most iconic landmarks, including the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens and Minnehaha Falls, as well as some lesser-known locations that cast an intriguing and positive light on Minnesota’s largest urban center.

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Big Changes in St. Paul

This article was posted to the Pioneer Press website on 5/23/2015 by Frederick Melo. It can be viewed in its entirety at the Pioneer Press website.


Someone who hadn’t visited St. Paul in a decade could be forgiven for being surprised by the changes.

Downtown is now bookended by a new $42 million concert hall at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts on the west end and to the east by CHS Field, the city’s $63 million ballpark in Lowertown.

Metro Transit’s Green Line light rail runs near both destinations, with growing numbers of housing options connecting the dots. A 27,000-square-foot Lunds grocery opened by The Penfield apartment building last year. And the Minnesota Children’s Museum and Twin Cities Public Television are making major expansions.

More changes are coming citywide.

The refurbished Minnesota Ballroom in the Crowne Plaza hotel in St. Paul. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

The refurbished Minnesota Ballroom in the Crowne Plaza hotel in St. Paul. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

In 2014, the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections issued building permits representing $714 million in activity — nearly double the amount of five years earlier.

Ramsey County will begin demolishing the old West Publishing headquarters and adult detention center on Kellogg Boulevard in June. Developers are moving forward with a second phase of luxury housing at Victoria Park off West Seventh Street.

Far down West Seventh at Davern Street, plans call for a new Fresh Thyme supermarket, market-rate apartments and small shops to reshape the Sibley Plaza strip mall. Multiple luxury apartment and mixed-use buildings could land on Shepard Road in place of the old U.S. Bank offices.

Up and down the Green Line, nonprofit housing developers continue their push for affordable apartments above a level of retail, raising hopes that private employers will follow.

Alongside housing, beer seems to be doing good business.

At least a dozen taprooms and microbreweries have opened shop from Payne Avenue to University Avenue.

It’s a trend worth toasting.



The 17-story U.S. post office tower at 180 E.

Bob Roepke, one of the Flat Earth Brewery’s owners who’s also the head brewer works in the brewhouse Friday, May 8, 2015.  Flat Earth Brewery

Bob Roepke, one of the Flat Earth Brewery’s owners who’s also the head brewer works in the brewhouse Friday, May 8, 2015. Flat Earth Brewery at Hamm’s Brewery site has redeveloped buildings and plans on opening a beer garden this summer. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Kellogg Blvd. is undergoing a $125 million renovation. The Exeter Group, which bought the building in 2013, plans 250 units of market-rating housing, a Hyatt Place Hotel and a destination restaurant. Funding includes $5.8 million in tax increment financing, $725,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and $850,000 for environmental abatement from the Metropolitan Council.


At 345 Washington St., the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has replaced the 306-seat McKnight Theatre with a $42 million, 1,100-seat concert hall, which opened in March. Funding included $20 million in state bonds and a 10-year, $3 million Cultural STAR grant backed by the city’s half-cent sales tax.


CHS Field in St. Paul was open to the public on Saturday, May 9, 2015. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

CHS Field in St. Paul was open to the public on Saturday, May 9, 2015. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)


St. Paul’s 7,000-seat regional ballpark has already hosted games for its second major tenant, the Hamline Pipers. The St. Paul Saints play an exhibition game May 18, followed by opening day May 21. At 360 N. Broadway St., the city-owned ballpark was funded with $13.3 million in private contributions and $51.4 million in public money and will be maintained by the Saints.


Jim Crockarell now owns the Stadium Ramp overlooking CHS Field at 255 E. Sixth St., and he has $3 million in plans. Those include a 10,000-square-foot rooftop bar and grill, as well as a restaurant occupying 6,000 square feet on the ground level. Both, he says, could open by August.

Construction continues at Hamline Station on the former Midway Chevrolet used car lot at 1333 W. University Ave. on Wednesday May 13, 2015. Project for

Construction continues at Hamline Station on the former Midway Chevrolet used car lot at 1333 W. University Ave. on Wednesday May 13, 2015. Project for Pride in Living, Inc. is redeveloping it into a $28 million, two-building, block-length affordable housing development spanning 108 apartments. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

The A’Bulae event center and parking take up five floors, leaving a sixth level ready for office tenants.


Sherman and Associates opened an 88-unit market-rate apartment building and retail space in the renovated, historic Rayette Building last October. The $23 million project was funded by historic tax credits, the Metropolitan Council and private equity financing. Next up for 261 E. Fifth St. is St. Dinette, an upscale eatery from the proprietors of the Strip Club restaurant.


After four long years, the end is in sight for the Lafayette Bridge project. The $125 million bridge replacement created two new U.S. 52 bridges over the Mississippi River, in addition to improvements to nearby roads. Work began in the fall of 2011 and wraps up in October.


Across Fourth Street from the St. Paul Union Depot, Timberland Partners will convert a historic office building at 333 N. Sibley St. into “333 on the Park” — 136 market-rate apartments with enclosed parking. The city has applied to the Met Council for environmental cleanup grants. Total development cost: $40 million.


Hoping to entice developers to the Kellogg Boulevard river bluffs, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved $11.5 million to demolish the vacant adult detention center and former West Publishing buildings, which span Wabasha to Market streets. Demolition begins in June and is expected to continue through spring 2016.


South of the Wabasha Street bridge and Raspberry Island, Sherman Associates opened the West Side Flats at 84 South Wabasha St. last summer. The $35.4 million complex has 178 apartments, with a mixture of market-rate and affordable units, and it’s 93 percent occupied. Funding included a $23.5 million private loan insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, alongside grants and loans from the city and other local sources. The developer is planning a two-building expansion, which would include 264 units, 5,000 feet of commercial space and a patio facing the Mississippi River. The expansion would be completed in 2017.


Building owner Jim Crockarell has been renovating the old Lowry Hotel building at 345 Wabasha St. N. since December 2012. The $16 million facelift has created a new home for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, 155 market-rate apartments and two floors of extended-stay hotel rooms. Crockarell hopes to add a ground-level restaurant and basement music venue, as well as rooftop dining.


Twin Cities Public Television is underway with an $18.4 million renovation and expansion of its 172 E. Fourth St. offices and studios. By summer’s end, it will add space for public screenings, art exhibits, concerts and lectures, as well as a street-level presence. Funding includes $9 million in state bonding and $85,000 from St. Paul’s Cultural STAR program.


Dating to the 1880s, the Pioneer-Endicott buildings at 141 E. Fourth St. have been fully converted from offices into 234 market-rate apartments, which are 95 percent leased. The three buildings, which got a $40 million restoration, are also home to the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Revival Spirits and Legacy Chocolates.


A $1.77 million vertical elevator and stairway connection from the skyway to the sidewalk adjacent to the Green Line’s Central Station platform opened at Fifth and Cedar streets in 2014. The city has identified the vacant land immediately to the east as a redevelopment opportunity, and is working with the Met Council on details.

14. MACY’S

The St. Paul Port Authority acquired the block-long Macy’s Department Store building at 411 Cedar St. for $3 million last year. Developers balked at the prospect of paying $13 million to demolish the building and start over. A retail developer bought 10 percent of the leasable space for $2.5 million.


Bigos Management purchased the 32-story, 450-apartment building at 111 E. Kellogg Blvd. for $51 million in 2012. In addition to a remodeled lobby, a new fitness center and a skyway cafe, renovation of 300 apartments will be complete by the end of the year. Total cost: $14 million.


Bigos Management is wrapping up a $6 million remodel this year of 366 apartments and common spaces in the Galtier Towers, 172 E. Sixth St. in Lowertown, including new fitness and business workspace centers.


Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures has almost completed construction at the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront hotel at 11 Kellogg Boulevard, which will soon be known as the InterContinental. Renovations include a redone lobby, meeting spaces and hotel rooms in the east tower. Work is underway on the west tower, where rooms will get new furniture, fixtures and bathroom expansions.


Located in the Historic Hamm Building at 408 St. Peter St., the Park Square Theatre opened the Andy Boss Thrust Stage in October. The 200-seat, lower-level theater has hosted four theater companies and doubled Park Square’s usual roster of performances. The $3.6 million project received a $180,000 STAR grant from the city.


The $14 million transformation of the Palace Theatre into a concert venue is likely to start within weeks. On West Seventh Place, the 3,000-seat hall has been closed since 1977. The city is negotiating a purchase price and will devote $5 million from the 2014 state bonding bill, $1 million from operating partners and an $8 million city loan from the mayor’s 8-80 Vitality Fund. Opening is scheduled for fall 2016.


The Minnesota Children’s Museum plans to begin work this October on a $28 million expansion and renovation at 10 West Seventh St. The museum received $14 million from the state, $1 million from the city’s Cultural STAR program, and more than $9 million in private contributions. The project will improve visitor amenities, increase gallery space and remake existing exhibits, with a focus on open-ended play.


Opus Development Co. recently purchased the iconic 7 Corners Hardware store at 216 W. Seventh St. and an adjacent church with plans to redevelop the block into 191 market-rate housing units next to a five-story hotel. The residential building will include about 11,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor. DEED plans to provide a $200,000 cleanup grant. Construction begins in June and could be done by the end of 2016.


Across the street from the Xcel Energy Center, the Opus Group and Greco Property Management received tentative developer status last October to turn a city-owned parking lot at West Fifth Street and North Smith Avenue into a gateway project. Early renderings propose two towers of hotel and residential units, retailers and a public plaza. Site plan reviews and environmental and market studies are expected to be complete by April 30, 2016.


A Lunds grocery featuring Caribou Coffee, Big Bowl and other tenants opened next to the city’s six-story, 254-unit Penfield apartment building at 101 E. 10th St. in May 2014. Developed by the city for $62 million, the market-rate Penfield is 94 percent leased.


United Hospital, Allina Health and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota began work in March on a birthing center at 345 N. Smith Ave. The $32.5 million Mother Baby Center will be the third birth center in the metro area. The first phase will remodel Children’s existing neonatal intensive-care unit and build out 30,000 square feet of new space this year, including a new entrance, a family waiting area, triage, labor, operating and post-op rooms.


Children’s plans to open a new Ronald McDonald room in July to serve families with kids in intensive care. The $2 million project at 345 N. Smith Ave. includes four family sleep suites, a full kitchen, entertainment space, a laundry and a fitness room.


The hospital is in the midst of renovating 61,000 square feet, at an estimated cost of $28.8 million. A $9 million pathology testing lab opened in January. From June through September, the hospital will open a $6.5 million hybrid operating and cardiology/radiology imaging room, a $2.9 million employee fitness center and wellness clinic, and a $5.4 million remodel of the 20-bed observation center. About $3.8 million in improvements to the intensive-care unit and cardiovascular, interventional imaging and radiation therapy rooms are underway. A physical therapy rehab clinic opened April 1 at 1710 Suburban Ave.


The Capitol is undergoing a $272 million facelift that will continue into January 2017. Officials say an additional $30 million may be necessary. Work is also underway on a $76.1 million Senate office building and $13.5 million, 265-stall parking ramp. A $16.8 million, four-level, 532-stall parking ramp next to the Minnesota Transportation Building opened in December.



Metro Transit’s $957 million Green Line is the state’s second light-rail corridor. Linking downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Green Line made its debut June 14 and quickly surpassed ridership expectations.


Catholic Charities plans a $100 million, two-phase reconstruction of its overcrowded Dorothy Day Center. For starters, the “ReVision” plan calls for converting the Labor and Professional Centre at 411 Main St. into a five-level building offering 278 shelter and pay-for-stay beds, as well as 193 units of permanent housing.


Since at least January 2013, Sears has been working with a broker to market its location at 425 Rice St. for redevelopment. Sears would remain the anchor tenant, but early concept plans for “Capitol View” called for more than 100 apartments, 18 townhomes, and multiple stories of office and retail.


The historic Old Home Dairy building at 370 W. University Ave. is being converted into 68 units of rental housing, including eight market-rate units. Some 6,600 square feet of commercial space will be added at 470 Western Ave. The $20 million project was supported by state and federal historic tax credits, a $250,000 federal HOME loan, and a wide range of additional grants. Construction is expected to wrap up in late fall.


Model Cities is working with the city on financing two construction projects along University Avenue, comprising 60 to 70 units of affordable housing, as well as retail. Central Exchange would be a three-story development at 773-785 W. University Ave., and Brownstone would be a four-floor mixed-use building at 839 W. University. Brownstone includes a reading room emphasizing the history of the Pullman railroad workers. Combined price tag: $25 million.


City staff are working with the Local Initiatives Support Coalition to market the site of the former Saxon-Ford dealership’s financing center at 253-255 W. University Ave. in Frogtown. Preliminary ideas include retail on the avenue with assisted living in back.


The St. Paul City Council approved $300,000 from the mayor’s “8-80 Vitality” program to demolish a vacant meat shop at 402 W. University Ave. and create a temporary, publicly owned plaza next to the Mai Village restaurant. Long-term plans call for a $1 million to $3 million renovation into a permanent outdoor market and gathering space.


St. Paul’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority bought the vacant Lexington Library at 1080 W. University Ave. in 2014, and city staff say there’s been plenty of interest from developers.


In February, Goodwill Industries opened its largest store in the metro area at 1239 W. University Ave., by Griggs Street. The $10 million, two-level Goodwill spans 30,000 feet of retail, donation and office space and replaces a long-vacant Whitaker Buick dealership.


Project for Pride in Living Inc. is well into redevelopment of the former Midway Chevrolet used-car lot at 1333 W. University Ave. into a $28 million, two-building, blocklong affordable-housing development with 108 apartments. The west building will include 13,000 square feet of commercial space. It’s supported by roughly $11 million in public grants and loans.


The Met Council will issue a request for proposals this year for the sale of its former “bus barn” property, a 10-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Interstate 94 and Snelling Avenue. The city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority had the option to purchase an adjoining 5 acres of vacant land from R.K. Midway, the owners of the neighboring shopping plaza, but allowed the option to expire in November, which could clear the way for a private developer to snatch up both parcels.

39. YMCA

Demolition and groundbreaking began in April for the new St. Paul Midway YMCA. The $16.4 million redesign includes an aquatics center, a rooftop patio, a demonstration kitchen, a play maze and multiple fitness studios at 1761 W. University Ave. The new Y opens early next year.


Episcopal Homes will host a grand opening May 20 for a 168-unit building that combines three types of market-rate and affordable senior residences. The $45 million project is at 1860-1890 W. University Ave., in the general location of what had been a Porky’s drive-in. The city helped secure $500,000 in federal HOME funds and $2 million in transit-oriented development funds from the Met Council. St. Paul plans improvements to Iris Park this summer.


Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative recently secured financing to build an $11 million, 44-unit housing development for homeless youth at 1949 W. University Ave. Site demolition is done, and the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority has committed $1.1 million.


Orton Development has put at least $2 million into renovating the 8.78-acre Silgan Can factory at 755 Prior Ave. About 10 commercial tenants have moved in, including Black Stack Brewery. Can Can Wonderland plans a mini-golf-themed entertainment center next to an interior rail spur.


Aeon, a developer of affordable housing, bought two half-vacant commercial buildings at 2147 and 2161 W. University Ave. this year with the intention of demolishing them and building residential units by Vandalia Street. The project would span four or five levels and about 100 to 140 apartments. Retail is uncertain.


Beer and films are taking over a mattress factory. First and First LLC is spending $10 million to remodel eight buildings within the former King Koil factory at 550-558 Vandalia St. Signature tenants include Lake Monster Brewing, which plans to open a taproom this year, and the Independent Filmmaker Project, a media arts center offering classrooms and screening space.


Indianapolis-based Flaherty and Collins plans a five-level, 248-unit housing complex at 2700 W. University Ave. The $54.7 million building includes 3,000 square feet of retail, and 20 percent of the units will be affordable housing. The city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority approved tax increment financing and HOME funds for the project in the fall. The Met Council is providing a $1.95 million transit-oriented development grant.


At least a dozen taprooms and microbreweries have opened in St. Paul, many of them near Metro Transit’s Green Line corridor. Urban Growler at 2325 Endicott St., the first microbrewery owned by a woman in Minnesota, plans to expand its kitchen. The latest arrivals include Sidhe Brewing at 990 Payne Ave. and Bad Weather Brewing at 414 W. Seventh St., which opens in June.



HealthPartners plans a $75 million, four-story, 128,000-square-foot neuroscience center at 295 Phalen Blvd. The project includes a 640-space parking ramp. Construction begins this summer and wraps up in 2017.


The North East Neighborhoods Development Corp. hopes to bring a mix of housing and retail to the former site of the failed Phalen Village Shopping Center, west of the 1300 block of Phalen Boulevard. Executive director Chuck Repke envisions 60 housing units and 25,000 square feet of retail development.


Real Estate Equities recently acquired four dilapidated buildings housing 48 apartments, which it will rehab as part of the fifth phase of the Ames Lake development at 1144 Barclay St., financed by $2.8 million in Community Development Block Grant loan assistance.


The Hamm’s Brewery is once again producing beer at 700 Minnehaha Ave. Flat Earth Brewery, which began brewing on-site in March 2014, is tentatively poised to open a beer garden this summer. Next door, the 11 Wells Distillery is opening a tasting room in late summer. Urban Organics has been operating an aquaponics fish-and-produce farm, and another urban grower, Frank Hamel, is eyeing Building No. 18.


Habitat for Humanity will build a dozen three- and four-bedroom homes on a three-acre lot in the North End previously owned by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Bordering wetlands, the Willow Reserve project at 389 and 425 Maryland Ave. is projected to break ground in spring 2016. Habitat is still finalizing costs.


Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455 will spend $8 million to add a story to an old contractor’s shop at 1301 L’Orient Ave. and convert it into a 65,000-square-foot headquarters and training facility, with space for their credit union.

53. 234-238 BATES

Euclid View Flats, a three-story apartment building at 234-238 Bates Ave. that dates to 1895, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in February 2014. Once taken over by squatters, the troubled 12-unit site was acquired by the city and sold to the Sand Cos., which plans a $2.2 million renovation supported by state and federal historic tax credits.


The Mississippi Market co-op plans a July opening for its third store — a $10 million, two-level building at 740 E. Seventh St. Next door, Dominium plans to build the $27 million Cambric Apartments — 113 units of affordable rental housing for seniors.


Metropolitan State University is remaking its Dayton’s Bluff campus with a $20 million, 760-stall parking ramp at 400 Maria Ave., a $12 million student center off East Seventh Street, and a $39 million, three-story science center at Sixth Street and Mounds Boulevard. The ramp and student center will open this year.


The Jacob Schmidt Brewery’s renovated Bottlehouse and Brewhouse buildings are now the Schmidt Artist Lofts, thanks to a $130 million historic renovation led by Plymouth-based Dominium and a host of public funding partners. Urban Organics, a local produce supplier, has a purchase agreement to move into land owned by investor Bruce Hendry. Craig Cohen has received two grants from the Met Council for environmental cleanup of the Schmidt Keg House, which he envisions turning into an open-air marketplace anchored by a restaurant.


The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is devoting $25 million to doubling treatment capacity at its 680 Stewart Ave. campus. The first phase, a 55,000-square-foot building for its existing chemical-health programs, is scheduled to open in October. Phase two, which includes renovations of the mansion, the outpatient mental health clinic, the upper parking lot and landscaping, could wrap up by April 2016.


Call it city living by the river. At 740 S. Victoria St., Chase Real Estate completed the $30 million, three-story, 215-unit Victoria Park apartments last fall, and they’re 95 percent leased. Construction of phase two, also $30 million, begins in June and will entail 197 market-rate units in a five-story apartment building at the edge of the future Victoria Park off Shepard Road and Otto Avenue.


Paster Enterprises plans a $50 million top-to-bottom remodel of its Sibley Plaza strip mall at 2481 Seventh St. W., adding 120 apartments over retail. Construction could start this year or next.


The Johnson Bros. are envisioning luxury apartment or mixed-use buildings in the vicinity of 2751 Shepard Road/1475 Davern St. overlooking the river. The U.S. Bank Building has been demolished to make room. At 73 feet, the requested height variance is drawing scrutiny.


Minnetonka-based Waters Senior Living started construction in October of a four-story, 84-unit senior living apartment building at 678 S. Snelling Ave. The city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority issued $21.9 million in tax-exempt conduit revenue bonds. Construction could be complete by September.


Between Highland Parkway and Pinehurst Avenue, TJL Development has proposed converting an Edina Realty office at 735 Cleveland Ave. into a four-story building featuring 53 apartments over 19,000 square feet of commercial space.


Eager to see Ford’s 135-acre Highland Park campus redeveloped into a model of environmental sustainability, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman toured European redevelopment sites for ideas this year. The city has organized task forces geared to alternative energy, zoning, jobs and biking, transit and pedestrian infrastructure at the former Ford plant. Marketing to attract a master developer starts in late 2015.


Call it a $65 million reinvention of Selby Avenue at Snelling. Associated Bank relocated from 1573 Selby Ave. and opened a location next door last summer, making room for the Ryan Cos. to build “The Vintage on Selby” — 208 market-rate apartments and a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market.


Developer Graham Merry and Cullen LLC completed a five-story, $3 million apartment building two years ago and now plan another. The proposed West Grand Avenue apartments at 2138 Grand Ave. would replace two homes and a duplex with a four-story, 14-unit apartment building near the University of St. Thomas. The building would span 48 bedrooms and include nine parking spaces within the main structure and another 19 in a two-level garage off the alley that would feature the city’s first car lift.


The St. Paul Public Library system has nearly completed $14.8 million in renovations outlined in its 2011 capital needs assessment, including top-to-bottom remodels of the Sun Ray and Highland branch libraries. Next up is a $1 million reorganization of the George Latimer Central Library at 90 W. Fourth St.


Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services will break ground this summer on the first seven of 35 detached, single-family homes off Minnehaha Avenue and Rivoli Street in the Railroad Island area. With cleanup costs, the overall price tag could be $10 million.



Form-A-Feed Inc. has started its new business, Ingredient Transport, a feed- and fertilizer-shipping operation, at the Port Authority’s Southport River Shipping Terminal. While its new building remains under construction, work on the company’s off-load tower wrapped up this year. Estimated cost: $10 million.


The towing and barge-cleaning repair company is nearing completion of its new 2 1/2-story headquarters off Alabama Street, near its Mississippi River floating repair center. The roughly $2 million project consists of office space and a repair shop.


The company is completing construction of a $4 million, 58,000-square-foot “flex” office and warehouse building on four acres at 1065 Phalen Blvd. Tenants include Moventas, a Finnish green energy windmill gear-rebuilding firm, and Viking Electric.


The armored-car company now operates out of a 17,000-square-foot building at 999 E. Seventh St. The Exeter Group developed the 2-acre, $3.3 million project, which has already brought 60 jobs to the site. Exeter has also improved parking and landscaping at a neighboring 5-acre site.


Following the St. Paul Saints’ move to the new CHS Field in Lowertown, demolition of the storied ballpark on Energy Park Drive is slated to begin in June or early July. After about $5 million in cleanup, the Port Authority and United Properties plan to build a $10 million, 190,000-square-foot office and warehouse facility.


Summit opened a new facility next to its brewery in March. The 49,000-square-foot building includes warehouse space, a canning line, a training center and office space for the brewery’s administrative, sales and marketing teams. It cost about $6.5 million and sits on 3.5 acres.


After completing $51 million in upgrades to its 1678 Red Rock Road plant in August, Gerdau is now building a scrap metal recycling facility to feed its new caster plant. That facility, on Barge Channel Road, is expected to cost about $2.3 million and will open in August.


The League of Minnesota Cities wrapped up demolition of the 3-acre site along University Avenue between Marion and Rice streets this fall. It’s looking for a “compatible use” to move in next to the organization’s headquarters at 145 W. University Ave.



A $5.8 million, 10,600-square-foot expansion of the Palace Recreation Center, 781 Palace Ave., will begin in late spring, and construction will continue through 2016. Improvements include new windows and fitness and crafts room, after-school programs and a warming room for the adjacent ice rink.


The city’s $13.2 million bicycle-and-pedestrian road project starts at the intersection of Johnson Parkway and Burns Avenue and runs north to Wheelock Parkway, where it becomes Como Avenue. The loop turns to Raymond Avenue south and then follows Pelham Boulevard along Mississippi River Boulevard. Construction could begin spring 2016.

— Compiled by Frederick Melo, Sarah Horner and Tad Vezner

This article was posted to the Pioneer Press website on 5/23/2015 by Frederick Melo. It can be viewed in its entirety at the Pioneer Press website.

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Final Nominees for The James Beard Awards- And We Are in the Running!


The James Beard Awards Final Nominees are in!! And Minnesota is in the running with FOUR local establishments! The final award winners will be announced in May- so check back to find out the final winners. Keep your fingers crossed!

Best New Restaurant

Bâtard, NYC
Central Provisions, Portland, ME
Cosme, NYC
Parachute, Chicago
Petit Trois, Los Angeles
The Progress, San Francisco
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurant (Did not make Finals for this Category)

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC
Per Se, NYC
The Spotted Pig, NYC

Outstanding Baker (Did not make Finals for this Category)

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.
Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional (Did not make Finals for this Category)

Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Best Chef: Midwest

Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Justin Carlisle, Ardent, Milwaukee
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO
Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis
Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN

Outstanding Restaurateur (Did not make Finals for this Category)

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)
Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy’s Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula’s Garden, Serpico, and others)

Outstanding Service (Did not make Finals for this Category)

The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
Marea, NYC
Quince, San Francisco
Restaurant August, New Orleans
Topolobampo, Chicago


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MN FOODIES REJOICE! The James Beard Awards Semi-Finalists Are Announced

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Foodies all over Minnesota rejoice, because this years semi-finals list for the best in the American food industry include a whopping 14 nominations from our home state! The results are to be announced March 24th, so check back to see the winners of the annual James Beard Awards- in it’s 25th year anniversary.

Proclaimed as the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards celebrate all aspects of the food industry, including chefs and restaurateurs, cookbook authors and food journalists, restaurant designers and architects, and more. The James Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals in America. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize and celebrate our nation’s culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields.

Minnesota’s nominees include:

Best new restaurant:

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis.

211 1st St N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Outstanding restaurant:

La Belle Vie, Minneapolis.

510 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Outstanding baker:

– Stephen Horton, Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis.

3220 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

– John Kraus, Patisserie 46, Minneapolis.

4552 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional:

– Eric Seed, Haus Alpenz, Edina.

5127 Skyline Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55436

Best chef: Midwest:

– Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis.

50 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

– Jim Christiansen, Heyday, Minneapolis.

2700 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

– Doug Flicker, Piccolo, Minneapolis.

4300 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409

– Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg, Travail Kitchen and Amusements, Robbinsdale.

4124 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale, MN 55422

– Russell Klein, Meritage, St. Paul.

Historic Hamm Building Administration Office, 410 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102

– Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis.

920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

– Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul.

Compass Hospitality, 289 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101

Outstanding restauranteur:

– Kim Bartmann, Minneapolis (Barbette, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Red Stag Supperclub, and others).

Outstanding service:

Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis.

528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414




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Don’t Miss this Weekend! International Eelpout Festival in Walker MN


Feb 19, 2015 – Feb 22, 2015

Found in the little northern town of Walker, is an unusual gathering that has been a winter staple for the past 30 years. Leech Lake, Minnesota’s 3rd largest lake, hosts it’s annual EELPOUT FESTIVAL this weekend- an homage to one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling freshwater fish. As any true Minnesotan, thousands of visitors swarm Walker and Leech Lake, in search of a quirky and fun outdoor experience. The opening ceremonies begin Thursday, February 19th at 5:00pm with lighting of the torches in Walker City Park, and will continue until Sunday night! For a one-of-a-kind time, check out the annual International Eelpout Festival this weekend in Walker, Minnesota!

Some of the many events scheduled for the Festival include:

Eelpout Ice Fishing Contest
Official Scale Times
February 20 @ 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Weight in @ Walker City Park
Friday 12:30pm-5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am-10:30am

DJ Dance Party and Karaoke Contest
February 19 @ 7:00 pm – 11:55 pm

Live Music all Festival long at the Chase’s 502 Bar and Restaurant.
Friday- American Bootleg 8pm-12:30am
Saturday- American Bootleg 8pm-12:30am
February 20 @ 10:00 am – February 21 @ 12:00 pm- Urban Myth

Eelpout Fish Fry
February 20 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Eelpout Curling
February 20 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

 2nd Annual Kids Perch Jerk
February 21 @ 12:00 am – 1:00 pm
Savings Bonds will be awarded to the three biggest perch caught. Holes will be drilled for kids to use. Please bring the poles and bait for them to use. Other small prizes will be giving out also!

EelPout Rugby
February 21 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bemidji State Rugby team come by and watch and play!

Polar Pout Plunge
February 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In Front of the Chase on the Lake. The Main Event that you do not want to miss. Freeze your butt off for Charity!

Eelpout Derby
February 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In Front of City Park Coors Castle. Race for fastest fish for a chance to win prizes!

Fishing Contest Awards Ceremony
February 22 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
At the Walker City Park

For more information, email: info@eelpoutfestival.com

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