News from the Downtown Alliance
October 29, 2021
A note from the president
Last week, Downtown Alliance staff had the opportunity of attending the International Downtown Association's annual conference. Since the first year we attended we've always found this event to be extremely helpful. We get the opportunity to connect with peers from downtown organizations from around the country to not only discuss practical solutions to challenges we all experience but also replicate successful programs. As you can imagine, we had countless conversations about how other downtowns are recovering from COVID-19 and their plans for welcoming employees back to the office. I'll also share with more than a little pride that our work to deliver more than 300 events over the past summer was met with universal praise (and astonishment!). We'll continue to incorporate our learnings into the work we do and programs we deliver to downtown Saint Paul.
On Wednesday, past and present downtown Saint Paul business leaders, property owners and managers, civic partners, and others gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Saint Paul BOMA. It was a great party to celebrate the decades of accomplishments of a great organization. BOMA has been a tremendous partner to the Alliance and we're grateful for their leadership and longevity. Related, BOMA released their annual market report and I'd encourage any who's interested to check it out. Congratulations to Joe Spartz, the BOMA staff, board of directors and committee members for all their work - here's to 50 more!
I recently put pen to paper to share some thoughts regarding the upcoming ballot referendum on rent control. I've long advocated for the need to increase density in our city, especially in downtown. The way the ordinance is drafted gives me considerable concern that there would be unintended consequences that inhibit our ability to build new housing and continue to grow the residential population in downtown - a critical component to increasing our vitality, amenities and sustainability. You can read the full piece here.
Finally, this week we also got the news that Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell will be retiring at the end of his current term. We are incredibly grateful to Chief Axtell and the support that he has provided downtown throughout his tenure but especially during the last 18 months. His leadership has been invaluable and we look forward to working together for another six months before sending him off to a much deserved retirement next summer. Thank you, Chief!
Take care,
Joe Spencer
Former St. Joe's campus to see new use in 2022
Construction will begin in January to turn the former St. Joe's hospital campus into a community wellness hub focused on tackling a variety of factors that can negatively impact an individual's overall health, including access to food, mental health and addiction help, and other services.

M Health Fairview anticipates that the medical staff will to return and begin offering services next summer. We're looking forward to seeing the campus reactivated and we will continue to advocate for jobs and ongoing investment in this part of downtown.

Feedback wanted:
Commuter transportation patterns and preferences
COVID-19 has dramatically changed how and when we move about the city, particularly to office-based employment downtown. 
Recognizing this, Move Minnesota and the City of Saint Paul have developed a short survey to try to understand downtown Saint Paul worker transportation patterns and preferences. If you consider yourself (or your organization) a current or potential future downtown worker, please take this survey.

Additionally, please consider sharing the link within your organization to the relevant individuals. Move Minnesota is offering a drawing for two gift cards as a small token of our appreciation.
The information gathered from the survey will be used to develop modern policies and projects which support evolving transportation needs.

#WelcomeBackStPL events & news this week
There's still time to get your spook on in downtown with two different walking tours and a Halloween-themed concert at the Farmers' Market happening on Saturday.

We're also excited to welcome Chicago's own Second City improv troupe to downtown for their show Thursday evening at the Ordway.

Here's a glance at what else is coming up:

  • October 30: Sister Celeste's Haunted Walking Tour
  • October 30: Haunted Walking Tour of Summit Ave
  • October 30: Big River Pizza Tangled Up in Dylan at the Farmers' Market
  • October 31: Walking Gangster Tour
  • November 3: Intro to Grants & Foundations : Starting a Nonprofit | George Latimer Central Library
  • November 4-5: Billy Strings at the Palace
  • November 5: Second City Comedy at the Ordway

Be sure to check for full details, new events are also added daily!
Snap, Tag, Win!
The #WelcomeBackStPL statue is still moving around downtown, making stops at our favorite parks, venues and destinations.

You’re likely to run into it at one of our events, or you may stumble upon it out of the blue. Either way, we want to see your pictures showing off your StPL pride!

To participate:

  • SNAP a picture with the statue - a selfie, a shot of your dog, or just admiring the scenery, we love them all!
  • TAG us in your post - use #WelcomeBackStPL and @StPLdowntown on your favorite social channel.
  • WIN - each tag gets you entered to win a downtown gift card. Winners are selected randomly.
Ignore the score! Did you catch the letters during the Wild broadcast?
Follow #WelcomeBackStPL on social media
Downtown has a lot going on these days and we're not slowing down anytime soon.

Make sure you don't miss anything by following along on each of our channels:
Downtown restaurant and retail options
Stumped for where to order dinner from these days? Or who has a patio to visit?

Have questions?

Banner photo cred : Visit Saint Paul