St. Paul's riverfront got a shot in the development arm earlier this month when the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to relocate its Downtown mail processing and distribution center to Eagan.
Minneapolis' riverfront development is already on a torrid pace, but the future of its signature Depression-era Downtown Post Office building is less clear.
In 2003, the U.S. Postal Service sought up to 80 acres in the south metro area to consolidate three facilities, including those in the two urban downtowns. It wanted to relocate away from multistory buildings on congested streets to an efficient, single-story building with easy freeway access.
Postal Service Spokesman Jim Stanley said the June 6 announcement only covered St. Paul. He could not comment on the future of the main Minneapolis Post Office.
Resolving St. Paul's needs was "the hottest issue," he said. The Postal Service was responding to interest from U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-St. Paul) and St. Paul business leaders, who wanted the 12-acre site opened for residential and related development.
At this point, there doesn't appear to be the same kind of pressure coming out of Minneapolis.
Tom Daniel, manager of business development for the city department of Community Planning and Economic Development, said there have been "glimmers" and "brainstorming" from developers on the possible reuse of the Post Office building. It would be a good redevelopment site, he said.
"No one went as far as working up a presentation or a concept," Daniel said.
Said Minneapolis Congressman Martin Olav Sabo, "If Minneapolis had specific development plans requiring a move for the Downtown Minneapolis Post Office, I would support the local community in talks of moving it."
It was clear St. Paul was the Postal Service's priority, Daniel said. Minneapolis has enjoyed significant riverfront redevelopment without moving the Post Office. "It is a different situation from St. Paul," he said.