News from the Downtown Alliance
February 12, 2021
A note from the president

Happy Polar Vortex! Happy Valentines Day! Happy Presidents Day!
If you’re planning to pick something up for your sweetheart, you can kill two birds in one building if you make your way to the Pioneer Endicott. Start in the new lower level location of A Pocket Full of Posies to pick up flowers and then head up to the skyway for Legacy Chocolates.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the CNN opinion piece penned by DEED Commissioner Steve Grove yet, I would highly recommend it. It’s not only a fascinating look at what moving from the private to public sector has been like, but also serves a reminder of how fortunate we are to have Steve in that role.
We’ve recently seen several entities and partners share what they’re working on this legislative session, and it is a reminder of the many exciting projects happening downtown. The County continues to advocate for the Riversedge public realm and increased transportation in downtown through the Rush Line BRT and Street Car system. The Met Council is working towards federal grant dollars that would go toward several important upcoming projects including the Kellogg/3rd Street Bridge and Robert Street reconstructions.
If you are thinking about potentially ordering in for food in the days ahead, and who could blame you, downtown Saint Paul can help. Check out Jason DeRusha’s downtown favorites in Minnesota Monthly, as well as our small business spotlight, which features one of my personal favorite spots. And finally, as a great reminder of the wonderful, legacy restaurants we enjoy just outside of downtown, it was great to see Cosetta's and El Burrito Mercado listed among the best delis in the city

Stay warm and take care, 

Joe Spencer
Saint Paul Downtown Alliance
Next Downtown Alliance Speaker Series announced

March 5, 2021
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

The pandemic-induced work-from-home experiment has altered perspectives on work, flexibility and the office.

When COVID-19 is no longer a lingering health concern, workers may not be expected to come into the office for tasks that can be done from anywhere. What purpose does the office serve in the future and how will that purpose impact the way occupiers think about their portfolio footprints, location strategy and office layouts?

Join us with speakers Christopher Leinberger (Co-Founding Partner & Managing Director, Places Platform, LLC) and David Smith (Vice President, Global Head of Occupier Insights, Cushman & Wakefield) to explore potential outcomes of the future of the office and what it means for urban districts regarding office occupancy and the street life urban place management organizations oversee.

Kaeding project to resume soon
The arson investigation of the fire that destroyed the new hotel at Seven Corners Gateway is still underway, but developer Carl Kaeding says that the project will move forward and construction will resume this spring. The hotel, which would have opened next month, is expected to take about a year to rebuild.

Small Business Spotlight
Afro Deli
written by Emma Burns
Afro Deli has been a downtown staple since moving to the 7th Place location in 2015. Owner Abdiraham Kahin opened the original Afro Deli location in Minneapolis in 2010 after finding a lack of options for dishes that tasted like home, or as he put it - Minnesota was missing out on the huge variety of flavors that can be found in Africa. Kahin and his business partner Moussa Doualeh are known around downtown for their warm and welcoming demeanors, huge smiles and hugs and above all their generosity. As soon as COVID-19 struck Afro Deli began providing free meals to school-age children, and throughout 2020 they have continued to show up for the community, by collaborating with Meals on Wheels to serve 900 meals a day and even provided free meals for voters waiting in line.

As the weather warms (because it has to sometime, right?!) Afro Deli will reopen their patio for outdoor dining. In normal times the Afro Deli patio is the best place to run into folks you know and it's one of the things I've missed most this year. Afro Deli is currently open for take out, delivery, or limited capacity indoor seating. You can visit their website to order ahead online or stop by Monday through Saturday. I would also personally highly recommend you follow them on Instagram not only for the updates, but because they have the most delicious feed on the internet.

This year we'll be regularly featuring the small businesses that make our downtown second to none.
Have a business you own or love and want to see it featured?
Downtown restaurant and retail options
Stumped for where to order dinner from these days? Or who might have that perfect gift?

Have questions?

Banner photo cred : Visit Saint Paul