See the largest pandemic-era construction projects in each of St. Paul’s 7 political wards

Construction activity shot up throughout St. Paul last year and the opening months of 2021.

Cranes barely paused in Wards 2 and 4 — including the Midway, West Side, downtown St. Paul and West Seventh Street — which led the city in large projects. In Macalester-Groveland and Highland Park, the highest-value building permits came from the burgeoning Highland Bridge development. The city’s sleepiest wards had little going on besides public school renovations.

St. Paul building permit data from January 2020 through March 2021 reveal the priciest project by estimated construction value in each of the city’s seven geographic wards. Equally revealing are the dollar totals for major projects worth $2 million or more.


Hamline-Midway, St. Anthony Park, Merriam Park and the Green Line corridor: Throughout the pandemic, construction companies pulled 14 building permits for major projects in Ward 4, representing some $245 million of planned construction activity. With a construction value of $44 million, Reuter-Walton’s five-story, two-building, affordable-housing development at 1845 W. University Ave. will feature 243 apartments and 2,500 square feet of ground-level commercial space when it opens. Work is well underway on the site, which sits in front of a Goodwill outlet off Fairview Avenue.


Downtown, West Side, West Seventh and Summit Hill: Construction firms pulled 20 building permits for major projects in Ward 2 in the same time period, totaling $215 million. Tucked between the Mississippi River and the Keg and Case Market along West Seventh Street, the 243-unit Waterford Bay Apartments are taking shape at 380 Randolph Ave. The Stoneleigh Cos. of Barrington, Ill., and general contractor Benson-Orth Associates pulled a $38 million building permit in July.


Highland Park and Macalester-Groveland: In Ward 3, construction firms pulled five permits for major projects during the pandemic, totaling some $72 million in estimated construction activity. At 800 S. Cretin Ave. — the site of the former Ford auto manufacturing plant now known as Highland Bridge — the Ryan Cos. pulled two major building permits, one in February carrying an estimated construction value of $38 million and another last November valued at $18 million. Both projects include a mix of residential and commercial units.


Frogtown, Summit-University and Union Park: Contractors pulled six major building permits in Ward 1 worth $70 million. At 183 E. University Ave., McGough Construction pulled a permit in March for a $17 million medical-office addition to Gillette Children’s Hospital. Last July, Watson Forsberg pulled permits to construct the $15 million Neighborhood Development Center Entrepreneurial Training Center, a residential/office building at Dale and University avenues.


Dayton’s Bluff, Mounds Park, Battle Creek, Conway and Eastview: Contractors pulled four major building permits in Ward 7 neighborhoods, totaling some $68 million in estimated construction activity. Last June, the St. Paul Public Schools and H+U Construction pulled a building permit for a $38 million addition to the grades pre-K-8 American Indian Magnet School, at 1075 E. Third St.


Maryland Avenue, White Bear Avenue, Payne Avenue and Arcade Street: Contractors pulled six major building permits in Ward 6, totaling some $41 million of estimated construction activity. St. Paul Public Schools and Kraus-Anderson Construction pulled a permit last July for a $23 million addition and remodel for Frost Lake Elementary School, at 1505 Hoyt Ave.


Como, Rice Street and the North End: Contractors pulled four major building permits in Ward 5 worth $16 million. The largest was for a $6 million addition to the Twin Cities German Immersion School, a charter school at 1031 Como Ave., pulled in March 2020 by RJM Construction.

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