WSP acquires more Robert Street properties

If you tear it down, they will come.

It may not have the same ring, but that’s the short version of a plan by West St. Paul’s Economic Development Authority to attract redevelopment along the city’s soon-to-be rebuilt Robert Street corridor. The West St. Paul City Council approved the purchase of the fourth of five desired properties along the corridor in its April 22 meeting.

The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution to purchase The Spectacle Shoppe at 943 Robert St. for $485,000, which includes relocation costs for the business. Of that amount, $310,000 will be covered through a grant from the Dakota County Economic Development Agency.

Robert Street redux

The city previously acquired the West Side Lanes property at auction last December and negotiated the purchase of Car-X Auto Service and A to Z Rental in February at a total expense of around $2.1 million. The EDA, which is composed of city council members, is also working to finalize the purchase of Deebs Tax Service at 945 Robert St., using an expected additional $86,000 grant.

The acquisitions come as part of a Robert Street reboot of sorts, which hinges on a two-year reconstruction project slated for 2014 that’s intended to improve the aesthetic appeal and usability of the corridor. The city intends to demolish all buildings on the properties to provide a blank slate to attract new businesses.

Mayor John Zanmiller praised Dakota County for its financial assistance in the redevelopment process, noting that the recent collaboration has been the smoothest in his time on the city council.

“This is incredible, the kind of cooperation we’re getting from the county,” Zanmiller said. “Now to have them step up and take a serious look at what can be done on Robert Street is -- dare I say it? -- heartwarming.”

-Luke Reiter

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