City authorities saw late January’s demolition of a disused public safety annex building that looked over Lowertown’s long-stalled Pedro Park as a positive start for the park’s design.
The four-story office building at 10th and Robert streets, which was constructed in 1925, will be demolished thanks to federal Community Development Block Grant cash, which the St. Paul City Council authorized on Wednesday. According to a city staff report to the council, the facility has been unoccupied since 2018 and is in terrible condition, costing taxpayers up to $100,000 yearly in maintenance.
In 2020, the Ackerberg Group’s plans to convert the public safety annex building into contemporary offices came to a standstill, as did a lawsuit brought by the local community against the city’s redevelopment initiatives. A new community work committee was formed by the CapitolRiver Council to reevaluate Pedro Park’s future when Ackerberg withdrew.
Promoters of Pedro Park have long cited pledges made to the Pedro family by city authorities in 2009, when the five-story Pedro Luggage and Briefcase Center still stood as the cornerstone of the Lowertown land. They insisted on a park taking up the entire block.
The owners of Keys Cafe contributed $2,000 to park planning in July. Council Member Rebecca Noecker stated that there is a great deal of enthusiasm in the neighborhood for community fundraising and that park staff would seek for financing alternatives for the upcoming Pedro Park.