Erick’s Bar demolished, Port Authority talks progress

Erick’s Bar, located at 949 E. 7th St., was demolished after a ceremony held by the St. Paul Port Authority Nov. 21. The triangular space is the final piece of the Beacon Bluff redevelopment. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Construction workers finish up taking down Erick’s Bar, bought by the St. Paul Port Authority to shore up the area for redevelpment. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Erick’s Bar used to be a go-to for blue-collar workers pouring out of the nearby 3M, Whirlpool, Northern Maleable Iron, and Hospital Linens. Now, it’s a pile of rubble.

Its last day open was Saturday, Sept. 28.

The bar was purchased in October by the St. Paul Port Authority from the long-time owner, Gary Erickson.

The Port Authority demolished it on Nov. 21 in order to create a large, usable plot of land for the St. Paul Port Authority’s Beacon Bluff project.

And in it’s place will go... well, that’s unsure as of yet.

What is sure is that the St. Paul Port Authority will combine the little island of land with another lot the group owns across the street to create a sizable development parcel.

Tom Collins, spokesperson for the St. Paul Port Authority, said the demolition of Erick’s Bar will mean the addition of about 7,000 square feet of usable land to the Beacon Bluff development project.

The additional space will be gained by closing off Bush Avenue -- the road will be torn up and added to the parcel. This work will be done with a $483,840 grant, Collins said, which pays for the demolition and reconfigurion of the parcel, as well as any environmental abatement work.

Collins said the demolition marks the last phase of cleaning up the land that was once occupied by 3M.

State Rep. Tim Mahoney, chair of the House Jobs and Economic Development Committee, touts the demolition of the bar as a sign of progress towards creating jobs and increasing the local tax base.

“(Erick’s Bar) has been a problem bar for as long as I can remember,” said Mahoney in a statement. “Redeveloping this site will mean removing those problems and adding new employees to the East Side that can take advantage of neighborhood restaurants and businesses.”

At a nearby lot on the Beacon Bluff development, an armored car company is breaking ground on a 15,000-square-foot building.

In addition, Collins said that the Port Authority has plans to team up with a private developer, Interstate Partners, to build a 58,000-square-foot industrial building. The plan would be to build without a specific tenant in mind and market the facility upon completion of construction.

Collins said this way of developing a site, where a building is erected before a tenant is identified, has been successful in other Port Authority projects, including the Energy Park Plaza in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.

The large, vacant building on the Beacon Bluff should be ready to be leased by next fall, Collins said.

Contact Patrick Larkin at or at 651-748-7816, or follow on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.

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